Thursday, March 26, 2015

More figuring out

Elder Colvin and Elder Anderson
March 18, 2015
         Today was not easy at all for me.  I am struggling with a companion who is constantly confrontational.  It is absurd.  He doesn’t have a kind way to solve any problem and he creates problems that don’t exist. He tells me that he wants to get along but if I want to get along with him I am going to have to humble myself and listen to his counsel, which ultimately is to be his servant and do everything that he says.  The good part about this situation is that I have learned more patience in the past week and a half than I have in the entirety of my life.
Miracle #176: The internet café that we went to was full so the bishop gave his permission to use the church computer to write to our families!
         The funny part of the day was when my companion thought that he was so right that he wanted me to call the president. I said that I didn’t think we needed to call the president because it was no big deal.  He then proceeded to make the call and then said, “President, my companion wants to talk to you,” after which he handed me the phone.  I took the phone and said, “President, I didn’t want to call you about this, it is not a problem.”  He just started to laugh and then we joked around together and talked about the sector and our companionship.  I think that president completely understands what is going on here.
March 19, 2015
         Well today was another rough day.  Truthfully, it was a good day for me, but not for my companion. He is sick of me because I spent the whole day talking to everyone I met…I mean EVERYONE. We had three divisions with members today but we taught only 1 lesson.  We contacted as lot and by the end of the day for some unknown reason, my companion lost his temper and called the president asking for a new companion.  I was completely embarrassed to talk to the president again about our “problem”. After everything was explained, the president told me exactly what I would expect to hear from my dad…”Boys, these things seem pretty pointless and childish to me.”  I agreed with him and told him that I would try harder to get along with my companion.
Miracle #177: I didn’t lose my temper this afternoon even when my companion said that I was the worst missionary he knows, etc.
         The reason that I was able to control myself is because every single time I was tempted to get angry, I dropped to a knee and started to pray until I was calm.  Even in the streets, I would drop to a knee and pretend to tie a shoelace so that I could say a little prayer.  Even despite my patience, my companion ditched me completely 2 times today.
         The best part of the day was when we saw someone outside of their house cleaning up yard waste and we offered to help them.  This person actually went inside his house to avoid talking to us.  As we left and were walking away, I decided that we should show true love of Christ by doing the job anyway.  As I was cleaning up the yard waste, I was happier than any other moment in t the day because we were helping someone with no alternative motivation.  My companion was less excited about this opportunity, but he did it after I told him that it would be what a true disciple of Christ would do.
March 20, 2015
         Well my comp had a really bad day today.  He treated me extremely poorly and even my district leader, who lives with us, told me that all I could do is to say nothing and ignore him.  My comp seems to have really hard times in the mornings and I am not sure why.  As we were supposed to leave the house, I felt a HORRIBLE dark spirit between us and I told him that we could not leave the house yet. We needed to figure out what the problem was so that we could leave with the spirit of the Lord. Well that set him off and it did not end well. I was able to control “most” of my temper and I did not react or fight back physically, though the phone did get broken.  In the end, the result is that the president got called…AGAIN.  This time I called him and the end result is that my comp and I have to work this out, or he will have to go home.  I don’t want to be the elder that has to send a companion home so I told the president that I would try my hardest to make this work out with my companion.  The president did call me later to talk to me more about the situation and he encouraged me telling me that he thinks that I can help this elder.
         Actually, most of the week I have felt pretty decent, a little exasperated, but pretty good to be honest.  My companion is helping me to become a more tolerant and patient person.
Miracle #178: My district leader returned to the house to poop just in time to resolve the situation and then he arranged for “emergency” divisions to give my companion a break from me and vice verse.
         Anyways, the rest of the day was very nice actually.  I did a musical number in a Relief Society activity and shared a spiritual thought and it turned out really well.  Other than that, Elder Johnson and I contacted an awesome future investigator.  The fun part of the day was when bishop came over to the house to explain his upcoming schedule to us.  He said, “I have ‘Faith in God’ at 4:30” I then said, “I have faith in God too!”  It took him a minute to get the joke…he is a very nice bishop.
March 21, 2015
         Today we did division with our zone leaders because of yesterday’s fiasco.  All in all, it was a good division for me. We mainly talked and contacted.  At 8:00 tonight, B. was baptized and I had to accompany 2 musical numbers without being able to practice. It was pretty sketchy, but I survived.
Miracle #179: I didn’t completely bomb the accompaniment at the baptism.
         President called again today to check in on us and wanted to know if I was still up to the task.  I told him that I am ready to try and change what I need to in order to make things work.  He asked me if I thought that my comp could change and I told him that I hoped he could and I would do my best to help him.
March 22, 2015
         Today was very good. I had a 5 hour church marathon session today.  By the end, I was pretty tired. I had a really good day with my companion today.  I thought that I would have a hard time forgiving him for what he did, but I prayed for the help to forgive him and it really worked. 
Miracle #180: We had a guy just approach us in the street and beg us to come by tomorrow to teach him. 
         He funny part of the day was when I fell asleep in sacrament meeting, the member sitting next to me stole my wallet.  Later he gave it back to me and said, in ENGLISH, “Sorry Elder, you are in Santiago which is the New York City of South America.  You better be more careful!”  It was really funny. This ward speaks a lot of English and it is really fun for me.
March 23, 2015
         We had a great day today, again!  I am getting used to the way my companion teaches.  We contacted quite a few people and it was just a great day!  We also taught a ton of lessons, at least for us.  (really only 4 – but that is a ton considering we only taught 9 all of last week.)  Basically I am re-emphasizing he importance of contacting with my companion.  He isn’t a fan of contacting, but he is doing much better. 
         I love prayer so much.  I am really becoming converted to this gospel and love it more and more every day.
Miracle #181: My companion corrected me in something today in a loving and kind way!!! WooooHoooo!!!
         The fun part of the day was contacting houses and then leaving card at the houses where no one was home.  My throwing arm is getting a lot better.
March 24, 2015
         My comp had another unpredictably bad morning today.  I could not get him out the door on time today.  We had a meeting at 11:00, which was a 20 minute bus ride away, and I could not get him out of the house until 11:00.  He got pretty ticked at me and the grumpiness continued throughout the day.  I contacted a ton of people today and he just sat there, silent and grumpy the whole day, even when I “passed the ball” to him.  It was super annoying.
Miracle #182: I now love meetings.  As pointless as a lot of the parts are, I really feel strengthened to move forward.
         The fun part of the day was president’s talk on obedience.  He did this object lesson with his suit coat on.  He pointed out that he looked like a normal missionary, well groomed, and clean.  Then he took his suit coat off, and his white shirt had words written all over it…disobedience, laziness, pride.  Basically the lesson was that you have to play the part of obedience and hard work on the outside and on the inside.  I have to work on that because I struggle with it.  
Our Sector map.
If you want a book, we have one for you!
Engraving of temple that a member made here.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Trying to figure this one out

The amount of bread that i can buy for less than two dollars.
March 11, 2015
         Well…I learned why people struggle with my companion.  He wants to work really hard and a desire to serve the people, but he is extremely serious and has a hard time connecting with people.  I am hoping to learn a LOT from Elder C. and maybe I can help him too.  I have not been feeling well today. I had the stomach flu all through the night last night and have been awake since 5:30 with more vomiting and cramps.
         I have another companion who likes to take extra time on the computer, so it is a good thing that I already figured out how to deal with that problem.
Miracle #170: The vomiting stopped after morning prayers and I have not been sick since.
         The fun part of the day was….unpacking I guess.  It was a pretty chill p-day.
March 12, 2015
         I can’t believe how much I am applying what I learned in my last companionship to this one.  I am finally able to get more “square” and do everything that I can to be an example of an obedient elder. My comp is reading and recommending to members to read a book that we aren’t even allowed to read. I have read a little bit of the book to see what he is recommending, and it is basically just an argument so it doesn’t bring the spirit when you read it. 
Miracle #171: I am in my first ward in Chile that had a bishop and he is super willing to work hard with the missionaries.
         There wasn’t really any fun part of the day, just some other stuff to mention. I ended up siting at the door ready to go for an hour while my comp just did who knows what.  Humm this might be hard.
March 13, 2015
         We contacted ALL day today and it was really great.  The only thing is that my comp really has a hard time at initiating conversation.  He is does not smile, laugh, or seem to enjoy anything about missionary work which makes meeting new people really hard for him.  Also, he freaked out this morning when I asked to have the phone for the day.  We switch off every day and it was my turn to make the calls, but he was not having anything of it.  He thinks that he is the senior, and although I am technically the senior, I would prefer it to me more of a co-leadership situation. I can see that that will not work here.  We haven’t found a way yet to teach well together.  My comp likes to preach deep doctrine, while I prefer to identify on a personal level and verify that the simple concepts are being well understood. But, I do have to say that I am loving this new area and I enjoy the work.
Miracle #172: I haven’t lost my temper at all even though my comp. is pushing my buttons.  Legitimately he tries hard to bring the spirit of contention into our companionship.
         The fun part of the day was just talking to everyone in the street.  I made jokes and sang and laughed all day long while Elder C. just seemed to suffer all day long.
March 14, 2015
         Today was rough.  My companion called me an apostate for believing in science.  Then he told me that I didn’t know ANYTHING about doctrine or the scriptures.  Well, I admit that I let my pride get the best of me and we clashed a bit.  I pulled out my scriptures and showed him a ton of scriptural references to the lesson that we were preparing.  He was forced to eat his words, but I felt badly about how I handled it.  In the end, we worked things out between us.
Miracle #173:  Somehow Elder C. actually had fun contacting today.
         The funniest part of the day was when I was able to make Elder C. bust up laughing.  It was a good time.
March 15, 2015
         Well, I discovered today that the sure fire way to get me really angry is to 100% sincerely call me stupid.  Yeah, this morning, my companion literally said, “You are the dumbest person I have ever met in my life.”  Seriously?  I got pretty irritated and we started to argue.  Another elder stepped in and calmed me down.  Then when I asked my companion for forgiveness for losing my temper, he just said, “No, we aren’t talking and you will never change and you will just keep being an idiot.” ….
         Anywhooo, I had a great time in church getting to know the members. I love this ward already.  I played a musical number in church and it went well.  It was so nice to play a real piano!!!
Miracle #174: I set up like 10 divisions with members for this week.
         I kindof wish today was funnier but it really wasn’t.  I found a pair of aviator glasses on the street, so I popped out the lenses and played with the frames for a while.
March 16, 2015
         Seriously, I have no idea what is up with my companion.  We had ANOTHER confrontation this morning with bad feelings until after lunch.  Then after lunch he was fine and we had an amazing work day.  We contacted like crazy and found a lot of people.
Miracle #174: Elder C. and I figured out a few things and we currently have 0 problems in the current moment.
         The fun part of the day was listening to a crazy old lady talk for an hour about demons and werewolves and witches and stuff.  Oh, and we also contacted a lady who gave us pomegranites.  I haven’t had one for ages and now I remember how much I love them.
March 17, 2015
         Today was a great day.  I had divisions with Elder Johnson today. He is the same elder Johnson from the CCM and he has been really struggling in the mish so far.  His comp really doesn’t want to work and that is so hard on him being a new missionary.  I think that I helped to lift his spirits today and he taught me a lot too. He mostly reminded me of the power of sharing personal experiences about the gospel and the spirit. 
Miracle #175: We contacted a guy who was considering suicide, but after we talked to him, he felt better. We are going to meet with him tomorrow.
         The fun part of the day was practicing a musical number with B. and Elder Johnson.  I had a good time singing and playing the piano.  I just love music and the spirit that it brings to me while I sing and play…it is something really special to me that I have come to greatly appreciate on the mission.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


March 4, 2015

         Today started off with a great trip to the temple and then unfortunately it kind of went downhill from that.  After the temple we went to the distribution center and a gift shop and bought some stuff for J.’s family and some scripture covers.  Elder L. decided that he wanted to go to McDonald’s to eat. I wanted to go home to eat so that we had time to work out, but he didn’t want to so we spent almost TWO HOURS in McDonalds wasting time and I was pissed. Then he wanted to go shopping and he took a full hour to write his notes, and then took almost 2 hours on the computer.  We are only allotted 1:15 minutes.  In the end, I had no time to work out except for a lame YOGA workout at the end of the day.  He was obviously punishing me for some reason…
Miracle #163: I contacted lots of people today even though it was p-day.

         The funny part of the day was when I accidentally contacted a former investigator of Elder Leon’s that doesn’t want anything to do with the church.  Elder L. just let me go right ahead without any warning.  …Less than a week left until changes.

March 5, 2015

         So I found out why my companion has been treating me like this for the past couple of days.  Elder L. is mad at me for “taking” his baptism.  Santiago chose me to baptize him and Elder L. think that I tried to be extra funny and friendly so that he would pick me. So not true, but there it is. 

         I got up this morning again to a dirty house and got a little bit annoyed, but then the other elders helped me do the deep cleaning that is actually part of our mission rules. 

In other news today, my companion hung me out to dry in a lesson today.  Our investigator was talking ridiculously fast and super slurred.  I understood everything, but it gave me a headache and this guy was TOUGH to teach.  For about 45 minutes of me trying to explain the lesson, my comp was silent and actually texting the whole time….Less than a week.

Miracle #164: S. passed his baptismal interview and everything is a go for tomorrow

         I genuinely can’t thing of anything funny today.

March 6, 2015

         Today was a lazy day.  Basically all day we were prepping for the baptism.  To be honest, the day started off badly as Elder L. was very resentful of me.  Towards the end of a companionship inventory I acted on a prompting that I had last night to re-ask S. who he wanted to baptize him.  We agreed to have Elder Ware drop by S.’s house to ask and we decided in advance to be cool with whatever he chose.  It ended up that he picked me again, but that little gesture really helped Elder L. to be okay with it.  We also went early to the baptism to be able to listen to a couple of talks about baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. 

Miracle #165: S. was BAPTIZED.  He was a little anxious because he does not know how to swim. He was a little freaked out, but my experience in lifeguarding really helped me to safely baptize him despite his fears.  It was an amazing and joyous experience for him and for me as well.

March 7, 2015

         Today started out as an amazing day.  We worked hard, taught, contacted, and found a lot of people to teach.  We had an amazing family home evening with J. and her family.  We did more and better contacting that we have done in a while.  Then it finally came time to wait for the call from our leaders about transfers.  We prepared one of the best drinks on earth call celestial mate which is shredded coconut, milk, sugar, and cinnamon. It was a really good time….until the call came and we found out that our sector got closed down and all of our contacts and progressing investigators will be divided amongst the remaining two companionship, one of which is very lazy and haven’t done much these past 6 weeks.  We have literally taught twice as many lessons as the other companionships.  That made me feel really badly about the work that I have put in in the past two transfers. But, Elder Leon felt even worse because he opened this sector 6 months ago and now he is seeing it die.  It was a really hard way to end this hard transfer.

Miracle #166 Elder Leon and I were able to resolve all of our differences and we will part as friends.

March 8, 2016

         Today was weird.  I played the piano in church as a special musical number.  It was the same hymn that my brother played for me at my farewell, “God be with you til we meet again/He is Risen” medlay.  It was very hard for me to say goodbye to another ward.  What is interesting is that Elder Ware and I have the same number of wards in our missions and he has been out for 15 months.  None of the missionaries have ever heard of another missionary having 2 sectors in a row for only 2 transfers.  So in that sense, I am special and unique, and also very thankful.  It is hard for me to not feel resentful about getting out sector shut down.  It is not fair, but it is my lot I suppose.  We also had one final zone meeting with this zone.

Miracle #167  We found someone who is going to be able to drive us to our transfer meeting.  It would have been near impossible to get there with all of our bags on a microbus and metro.

         There wasn’t a fun part of the day, but there was an interesting experience.  Today I ate a cow stomach sandwich that a member made.  This particular member really loves Elder Leon, but also really hates me because she thinks that I am “unfriendly.”  I guess there was a funny part of the day now that I think about the stomach sandwich. Daniela, one of the best members in the ward, sat with this sandwich in her hands for about 20 minutes…super hesitant to try it.  We made fun of her in a nice way!

March 9, 2015

         Today was just a day of really long goodbyes and lots of walking. It was hotter than Hades’ armpit.  It was so hot that even the native South Americans got sunburned.  I am not kidding, we were sweating while sitting in the shade.  Anyways, I didn’t even want to work today.  I am so sad to leave the ward that I love so much and I am so worried that all of the work that I have done will just fall apart and not get followed up on.
Our two young recent converts, the M&Ms

Miracle #168  Members of the ward feel and attachment to me even though I have been here a short while.  Reciprocal love is a powerful motivator. 

         The most fun part of the day was another family home evening in J.’s home with about 7 other members.  Basically it was just a party with all of the Elders and it was a blast.  We played a game that is too hard to explain but it ended up with everyone’s face covered in lipstick.

March 10, 2015

         So the transfers turned out pretty interesting.  We ended up not being able to fit all of our bags in the person’s car who gave us a ride to transfers.  I ended up having to leave my bags in the house and trust that the hermano would pick them up later.  He was so kind and he got them to me at about 11:15 tonight.  I was so grateful for his help.  The biggest reason why this change was interesting is because President Cook put me in an interesting companionship.  If you remember about a month back, I went on a division with Elder Castro who is a missionary that other missionaries do not get along with.  Yup, I am his senior companion now.  He is from Peru!  It is cool because I actually really like him and I think that we will do just fine together. 
My new comp, Elder Castro
 Miracle #169  Our chapel has a REAL GRAND PIANO in it!!!!!!
         The fun part of the day was that I got super excited about our new house and zone.  It is going to be a fresh start for me.  I know my whole house from before and I really like all of them. Also, our house is very nice for missionary standards.  I will include some pictures for you.

I haven't had time to organize my desk/card table yet.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Lord Will Provide

February 25, 2015
         Today was a fun p-day.  We went to parque la Bandera and we played baseball, which I don’t play, and soccer, which I can’t play due to my deformed dislocating knees.  I basically got bored and ended up climbing trees.  We did get to play with some cute puppies and a crazy water fountain.  We have a rule as missionaries to never shop in street clothes even if it is the practical and logical thing to do and best use of our time.
Miracle #156: The zone leaders gave us permission to shop in our street clothes at the supermarket that was right next to the park.
          The funny part of the day was when we had an appointment with V. and his family.  For some reason they looked me up on youtube and found a video that my mom posted 2 months ago.  It was titled Elder L. Colvin, and it was just me throwing a trompo in my old house.  I thought it was hilarious because it has only 12 views and most of those are this family that I am teaching.
February 26, 2015
         Today was a decent day.  We ended up walking a TON today because no one is home.  Everyone is on their vacation so they are either sleeping and ignoring us, or they are out of town.  I cannot wait for school to get back in session because things will finally settle back to normal.                                    
        We started off the day wasting a ton of time on a service project that only needed a few elders and ended up with 10.  We were moving a family and that is something that I actually have a lot of experience in so I worked hard.  On the way home, I wanted to walk faster than my comp so that I could get some work done.  I discovered a new contacting method and that was that when I was way ahead of my companion (who walks really slowly), I would stop and do a contact.  I got three good references from that walk. I got my miracle in the martial arts class that we are doing.  We are actually a beta site in our mission for this type of class.
Miracle #157: Three people came to our class in the very first week of advertising. 
         I am actually kind of dreading this next change now because we will get a new District Leader and I am concerned about which one of the other elders it will be.  I know for certain that I never, EVER want to be a district leader myself, but I would really like to be the companion to a DL.  When you have a DL for a comp, you get to go on lots of divisions and it is really good for your relationship as companions to have a break, and you learn a lot of really good things from how other elders work. 
February 27, 2015
         Today was a rough day.  We did have a fun miracle, but the best part of the day was at the baptism of Viviana and Karla.  They are the other elder’s investigators, but we get to attend baptisms and the spirit there was great.  It made me excited for S. baptism that is scheduled for this Saturday.  Actually, the baptism could have turned out a lot better.  The ward leadership cut the service short because they had to be somewhere else to go, and they showed up in their street clothes…what the heck?
         We ended up trying and failing to talk to people and get contacts almost all day long. But I kept on trucking and didn’t get too discouraged.  The miracle of the day was during one of those rough moments.
Miracle #158: While standing in the sun feeling rejected, a lady left her house to come to talk to us and asked us to teach her!  Wow, that was a tender mercy.
February 28, 2015
         Today was rough….again.  We did have one lesson and one great contact/service opportunity. Actually we also started the day with a service project where we had to cut down this ridiculously hard tree with a stupidly dull saw.  ALL of our citas fell through and our plan B’s almost all fell.  At he end of a couple of hours of work, we went to go help out a member who called us asking us to come.  When we got there, the members were gone!  Then as we walked back home, my miracle happened.
 Miracle #159: I saw tow men working on their house and I offered to help.  They accepted and after 45 minutes of work and chatting, they invited us over for dinner next week. 
         We had a great talent show in our ward tonight.  A ton of people showed up and we had a great time getting to know each other.  There were a TON of funny talents and I ended up throwing a Trompo for my talent.  It went way better than I thought and the Chileans were so surprised that a gringo could learn those tricks.  They wanted to know how I did it and I told them that some people have the gift of tongues, but I have the gift of trompos. 
Little kids think that I am velcro, it is the hardest rule to enforce to keep the kids from running up to you and hugging you. 
March 1, 2015
         Today was pretty good. Church was not that great though because one of the brethren decided to reprimand the men in very fast and very harsh Spanish.  It was rough and I couldn’t even distract myself with reading scriptures in English like I used to be able to do a few months ago.  I was bummed out because S. didn’t come to church and he is getting baptized this Friday.  As it turns out, he just didn’t wake up and we are still good to go for the baptism. In our lesson with him today, he chose me to baptize him and I was so humbled and excited at the same time.  It will be my very first opportunity to baptize someone.
Miracle #160:  S. will be baptized age the same age and on the same date that my companion was five years ago.
         The most fun part of the day was visiting J. and C.   We were fasting so we couldn’t eat their delicious food.  I was a little bummed about that part, but the visit was good.
March 2, 2015
         Today started out with Elder W. trying to reprimand me for exercising too much.  SERIOUSLY?!!!  I just got so frustrated.  He called the president about it because he is “worried”.  I wake up early so that I can do three things: study and extra 30 minutes, exercise an extra 30 minutes, and clean (every day).  I am still ready on time for companionship study.  Elder W., my leader, has never worked out in the 12 weeks I have been here, he rarely cleans the house, and he hardly every does comp. study. I get more done in the morning while following all of the rules and he is still ratting me out to the president.  The only thing that I can do is hang in there for one more week when president promised me that things would change. 
         Other than that, today was awesome.  We had good lessons and fun divisions.
Miracle #161: We ran into Hermano H. mother in the street while contacting.  We had never met her and we didn’t even know anything about her, but after talking to her for a bit we learned that her son was Hmo. H.  She says that she is interested in learning more about the church.
         The fun part of the day was either when I found 2 bucks on the sidewalk, or when some random contact gave us milk.  It wasn’t just any milk, it was flavored and really delicious!  Also Elder Diaz and Elder Whitmore decided to pull a prank on us.  They lit 20 incense sticks in our room and shut the door and windows. The room was full of smoke was pretty entertaining!
March 3, 2015
         Today was really good.  It was one of the better days that I have had with Elder Leon.  We taught some of our really good investigators and found and taught some interesting future investigators.  We also went on divisions tonight where we each went with a man from the ward.  It was only the second time we have ever managed to leave with 2 different men.  The last week fo this change has been great so far.  I am really starting to love Elder Leon. I think that my mom’s advice to lower my expectations had really helped me.  That and the fact that I have been doing more stuff for him and it has brought us a lot closer.  I think that I needed to learn how to just give of myself without expecting/wanting/needed reciprocity.
Miracle #162: Chile sells whole wheat bread somewhere, and I am going to find it.  A contact gave us a sandwich made with whole wheat and it was amazing.  Sometimes I feel that I get more from making contacts than I give.  That makes me wonder how God provides a way for us to have our needs met even if it is from random strangers on the street. Today’s miracle showed me that when I serve and love others unselfishly without thought of recompense, God will provide a way to fill me up.