Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Just another week

September 16, 2015

         Today was yet another super lame p-day.  It was my turn to choose the activity, but my companion woke up this morning pissed at me and determined to go to the zone activity.  At first I said no because I have already gone to the MIM which is a super lame childish museum.  But then I decided that it might help my comp to be in a better mood, so we went.  I knew that I was going to loose my entire p-day again, so I was not in a super good mood.  In the end it turned out all right. I didn’t especially enjoy it, and I spent way too much money, but I lived.  The frustrating part was that my comp was still pissed at me and wasn’t even slightly grateful. 
Miracle #373: I wasn’t even angry about how crappy my comp treats me. Also, we didn’t die in the big earthquake that hit Chile today.

         Right after emailing today, an earthquake hit Chile.  It was pretty strong and we were on the third floor of super ghetto area teaching a little girl who sees and talks to dead people (no joke.)  When the quake hit, everyone freaked out and ran into the streets.  I said a little prayer and instantly felt calm and knew that nothing was going to happen.  The Spirit is just the best! That was definitely the fun part of the day and way better than the earthquake simulator at the MIM.

September 17, 2015

Today was a good day, finally!  I did divisions with Elder Diaz (the gringo one) and it was a much needed break.  The work wasn’t the best because all of the citas fell through so we ended up contacting quite a bit.  The most relaxing part of the day was not fighting with my comp.  I really hope that when Elder C. and I get back together, we can work on everything and become more unified.  It really helps with one’s emotional health to get along with the person your are with. Elder Diaz and I had a really good talk tonight and together we came up with a game plan. 

Miracle #374: For the first time in my mission, a leader doesn’t blame everything on me.

         There wasn’t any particularly fun part of the day, but everyone was talking about the earthquake. I honestly didn’t think it was that bad, but everyone was still freaking out about it.  The quake felt as if the earth was shivering. The best par of the day was going to the birthday party for a lesson active member.  We stuffe dourselves silly with meat, cookies, brownies, salad, and cake.  It was a good thing we had a birthday because Elder Diaz missed out on a great ward activity in his sector by coming on the division.  He ended up with better food here!

September 18, 2015

         Today was a very lazy day.  We finished the divisions with Elver Diaz at noon, but when we got back to the house, my comp. took an hour and a half to get ready to get out the door.  So I just waited patiently.  We went out and I ended up contacting a few people.  He didn’t have much energy for contacting. After a couple of hours of work, we went to the ward activity where we were supposed to only stay for 2 hours. 
tug of war at the ward activity
 The other set of elders were there too, and Elder Ahlstrom and I were ready to go at the 2 hour mark, but neither of our companions would leave.  Neither one of us wanted to irritate our companions so:

Miracle #375: Elder A. and I did mini divisions while our companions stayed at the activity.  We worked for 4 hours.  This is a miracle because Elder A. is going home in 2 ½ weeks and he is still seriously working hard!  Sadly, his comp is dead.

         The funny part of the day was learning how to fly kites, but not just any kite, a Chilean kite!  For some reason, I picked it up really fast and on my 5th attempt I flew a kite at around 400 meters.  We kept having to tie additional 150 meter spindles on to make it longer.  Then Carlos came and cut my line…it was fun.

September 19, 2015

         Today was a better day.  We got out the door to contact fairly early, but found next to no one. Our day was quite filled with contacting which ostensibly is what my comp. wanted to do.  But, then he complained anyways.  Even though I was oddly ridiculously tired, I had a good time contacting.  I think my exhaustion is a direct result of staying up too late. Our lunch was unusually large today because it was the leftovers from the party last night. Big lunches do NOT energize you.

Miracle #376: We found the guys who we helped to move the other day and now we can teach them.

         The entertaining part of the day was trying not to get irritated with my comp.  I am growing a thicker skin so the stupid stuff doesn’t bother me too much anymore.  The other funny part of the day was trying to teach with 2 exhausted missionaries….not the best lessons I will tell you that.  Elder A. is really trying not to die before his mission is through, but his comp is already dead.  They were in the house all morning and a lot of the afternoon.  I don’t ever say anything anymore about this kind of stuff. 

         Another entertaining part of my day was doing trompo contacts.  They are fun because no one things that a gringo can throw a trompo and then they are surprised when I throw it.  I am getting really good at it!

trying on the mew chamanto, they are hand woven and worth like 3000 dollars. The family that we live with designs and makes these for a living.
 September 20, 2015

         I really don’t know how to get along better with my comp.  Nothing that I try to do for him makes him happy.  Whenever I express a desire to work, he gets pissed. Whenever I express a desire to waste time, he gets pissed.  At this point, I am a little bit scared to mention anything to him or to tell him any directions because I am pretty sure that he will get mad at me.  We ended up talking today and I told him that I felt that it is really important to have companionship unity and in order to do that we need to start with friendship.  He told me that he has no interest in being friends.  I then told him that we needed to try harder to do more than just get along.  We need to actually have good feeling between us so that we can teach effectively with the spirit. 

Miracle #377: Despite our companionship struggles, our lessons still turned out fairly well today. 

         The funny part of the day was probably in church when we were talking about pride and one of the members went off on how humble he was…haha.  Then it got even better when one of the investigators made the comment that someone stops being humble the minutes that they say that they are humble.  None of the members wanted to come out and say this for fear of offending , but it is like investigators have the gold star in Mario bros, they can say whatever they want without fear.  It is great!

September 21, 2015

         Our companionship is still struggling.  It isn’t like some of the others that I have had that were just awful, we just don’t get along very well.  Sometimes I feel kindof bad for how much I have to get after my comp.  When he whine or complains incessantly, I get after him.  When he rejects my opinion in a whiney way, I get after him. This morning we had a training about lots of stuff like setting goals and what to use when we teach.  Elder C. lets a lot of the good stuff go in one ear and out the other.  When I asked him how he thought that we could apply what we learned to our companionship, he said, “ I don’t know, I think our goals are just fine.”  Well, they aren’t fine and we aren’t doing fine.  We need to make changes and he doesn’t want to. 

Miracle #378: I got a ton out of the training that we had today despite sleepiness.

         The funny part of the day was the beginning of the training because we had 2 training things about stuff that I knew a lot about (self defense and first aid).  So I was so bored to begin with, but I decided that others needed this info and I gutted it out.  Then I was rewarded with the second part of the training that really helped me. 
September 22, 2015
Today was a way better day. The morning wasn’t the bomb, but we had an extended conversation about our relationship and in the end I ended up just telling my comp about one of my worries about him that I have noticed since we got together. It’s that I never see him having personal prayers.  He got defensive at first, but I just suggested that he read something in “True to the Faith” and then he got really quiet.  In the end, we both were left thinking about the power of prayer and we decided to put it to the test with our companionship.  We said a heartfelt comp prayer so that we could have a good day together.
Miracle #379: After prayer, we had a day with no problems.  We organized a baptism and set another baptismal date!
         Today was great in the end because my comp, who doesn’t like making the baptismal invitation, was able to see that on as early as the second visit, it can be the right thing to do.  We’ll see how it will all work out, but I told him that I wouldn’t make any more invitations if we didn’t have unity.  Today we had unity so I made the invitation and she accepted.  I pray that tomorrow will be as good of a day as today was.  This sector is so incredible and it deserves a unified hardworking companionship.

A Wasted Week

 September 9, 2015

         Well things are not going so well with my companionship.  Elder C. is often irritated with me.  He got to choose the p-day activity today which was going to Cerro San Cristobal with the district.  I have been there before and it is kindof a kids activity, so I wasn’t too thrilled about going, but we agreed to take turns with p-days and it was his choice.  It was a huge time waster.  I really feel like I need to use my p days to “prepare” for the coming week, but my comp looks at them as a day off. I can’t even get him to study on p-days.  Oh well. 
Miracle #366: My companion is starting to open up to me about what is bothering him so we can hopefully fix it and be more unified.
         The funny part of the day was going to a restaurant that was ridiculously expensive, but we didn’t realize it until after we had already bought a bottle of water.  We ended up leaving after paying for the drinks.  The other funny part of the day was when one of the elders came home from divisions wearing tights….seriously.  Literally, the only pants he wore while walking through the streets was a pair of thermal underwear.  Then, worse than that, after the divisions he went to the street vendors without putting any pants on either.  It is a big rule here that we have to wear proselyting clothes when we shop anywhere.  Oh well…just thought that was weird.

September 10, 2015

         Well tomorrow is some delinquent day again where we have to stay in the house because of Independence Day celebrations.  We had to return home early today as well, which was not a bad thing because Elder C. and I got in an argument.  It is good that we didn’t have to work together this afternoon.

Miracle #367: We get a little break from each other today.

         The funny part of the day was when Elder T. taught me how to play poker…that’s right, the elders here play poker.  I think that it is funny that the very first time in my life that I have ever played poker was on my mission. It just seems like we as missionaries shouldn’t be doing that.

September 11, 2015

Today really sucked. All we did all day long was play games and it was just such an enormous waste of time. I should have studied more or worked out or cleaned or done ANYTHING productive, but I didn’t.  There isn’t much to say about the day. I actually feel bad about the fact that I chose to squander my entire day with useless wastes of time.

Miracle #368: Even though we were stuck in the house, a member provided a lunch for us!

         There were various fun parts of the day.  One was when we played water/juice pong.  The other fun part of the day included learning how to play another card game, flying kites, and stuffing ourselves with ridiculous amounts of food.  My personal favorite part of the day was watching a movie called “God’s Army”.  It had some really good spiritual points, but probably shouldn’t be on the missionary watch list.

September 12, 2015

         Ugh! I woke up late so I wasn’t able to do my exercises today.  That is two days in a row.  I think that when I don’t work out, I am more tired during the day.  Anyways, today was a decent day other than that.  Nothing super exciting happened.  We did meet one of our investigator’s mother in the street and she thanked us for helping him.  Sadly, later on that day we found him in the street where he sells drugs. It really hurts to see people that you care about continue to screw up their lives.

Miracle #369: We were able to help someone out today just by jumping in and doing spontaneous service helping them move.

         The funny part of the day, nothing really.  Overall it wasn’t a depressing day, it just wasn’t fun. I spent a TON of my day just thinking about our investigators and praying to know how to help them.  I haven’t really received any answers yet.

September 13, 2015

         Today was alright.  It was Elder Tornow’s birthday so we ate a ton of crap.  That made me super hyper.  Church was decent today except for the fact that not very many of the people we teach showed up.  The other not-so-great part of church was the fact that 5 minutes before the gospel principles class we realized that the teacher wasn’t there.  I had to scramble to read the lesson so that I could teach. I still struggle, even after a whole year as a missionary to teach solely by the spirit.  In the end, it turned out well. 

Miracle #370: One of the members of the ward mad a giant dinner for Elder T. birthday, and the lesson turned out really well.

         The funny/lame part of the day was the dinner because we had an appointment right before the dinner that we had to rush because Elder T. had a member come to the house where we were teaching to pick us up.  Then we also missed out on a potential lesson after the dinner because it went long. 
September 14, 2015

         Well my comp and I are still having issues, but I am not letting it affect my desire to be here and work. The main complaint that he has about me is that I act as if everything depends on me, and my main complaint about him is that he doesn’t help me do anything. 

Miracle #371: I go to talk to Elder White today and he helped me feel a million times better.

         I am really grateful to have a great friend in the mission and it is going to be hard for me when he goes home (soon.) Talking to him was a much needed stress reliever.  It makes a huge difference in the work to have a friend as a companion.  Tomorrow is a new day. 

September 15, 2015

         Today wasn’t the best.  We still are not getting along very well.  This morning we did a painting service project which meant that we couldn’t study. We had a decently fun time.  After a semi-nasty lunch, we went out to work.  Within the first 5 minutes I had an accident with a rebar and my eye.  I was walking down a street that I have walked down a million times, and I was looking at the other side of the street, when I walked right into a rebar that must have been recently placed at eye level. It really hurt for a long time.
Ghetto toilet
Ghetto Chair

 Miracle #372: The bar didn’t do any serious damage to my eye that I know of.

         We had a super frustrating lesson this afternoon with a family where everyone was really receptive except for the mother.  We had a super good lesson and in the end, she started asking us challenging questions.  Every response that we gave she challenged to the point of mocking us.  I was pretty frustrated in the end I shared Alma 30:44 and said that she needed to search for spiritual answers rather than seeking for signs.  

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Still Here

September 2, 2015
         Today was another p-day.  We went to the mall plaza oeste, which is a giant modern mall here.  It is weird to be in a foreign country and see so much gringo stuff.  I got a few things to change up my room a bit.  I bought an exercise ball for pretty much no reason except to be my new anti-sleeping chair.  We mostly wondered around the mall for a couple of hours and ate some gringo food.  I got Taco Bell…and I will just sat that it was a bit of a let down. The best part of Taco Bell was talking to the Chilean who lived in the states for 10 years about how much better the fast food is in the US.
Miracle #359: A couple of random recent converts offered to buy us ice cream.  The miracle was their story.  It made me really happy to see that at least some missionaries make a huge difference.
         The fun part of the day was trying to avoid looking at really cute girls that are starting to wear less clothing because of the heat. I have to say that I am better at it than my comp.  There is, however, room for improvement. The goal of this next week is to win back all of my energy for the work.  In order to do that, I plan on trying to focus on my people with all my heart.  I am hoping that it will improve my happiness.
September 3, 2015
         Today ended awesome, but started really crappy.  In the morning, I was still struggling with everything about the mission.  I got irritated at my comp and in the end I was so fed up that I couldn’t even think straight.  In the end, I went to pray and decided that I wasn’t going to get up until I got an answer to my prayer concerning wanting to go home.  My answer was that before I could go home from my mission, I needed to consecrate one full week to 100% effort.  I love the work, so I decided to do this and try to forget about mission politics.
Miracle #360: P., our new investigator, actually read the chapter that we left for her to read.  NO ONE DOES THAT!
         I am really grateful for today because the Lord really blessed us with a fantastic day that changed my mind.  The best part of the day is that we did practically everything we could do  (contacting, lots of lessons, future investigator visits, etc.)   The heat is starting to kill us, especially me because it makes me so darn sleepy!  No matter how hard you try, you start to dose off after lunch.  Full on summer is going to wreck me.
September 4, 2015
         Today was a very interesting day.  In the morning we taught a few lessons, after which we had a companionship study which ended up more like an companionship inventory.  My comp came out with everything that is irritating him about me.  It actually turned out really well and I now have some things to work on.  The weirdest part of the day was going to lunch with president.  My parents sent him a message that got him worried about me, so he gave me a call and we went out to lunch with his wife.  They mostly addressed my question about how I didn’t feel like I was making any progress in the mission.  They told me that they definitely thought that I should stay and that I would make more progress in the mission than at home.  They actually said some nice things which surprised me cause I didn’t think that they thought very many positive things about me.
Miracle #361: I have my mind more on my work and feel a lot better and more hopeful.
         Here were 2 funny parts of the day.  The first one was that the new elder in our house brought fleas to the house so everything was fumigated today.  The second was that president drove us way out for lunch and then just dropped us off at the metro afterwards.    The rest of the day was spent with a young man (17) who we are helping.  His story is super sad.  He basically hasn’t had love in his entire life.
September 5, 2015
         Today was odd.  We started off the morning well by doing all of our studies and going to a cita.  We confirmed the appointment before going and when we got there, it turned out that they were “busy” and couldn’t visit with us.  Lunch was not too long after that so we went back to the house to do some language study.  This whole time our faces are burning from the fumigation crap that the dude sprayed on our pillows.  Nothing got rid of the itch!  The lunch was amazing with the best empanada that I have eaten in my life!
Miracle #362: My companion and I started English language study.  It is fun.
         The funny part of the day is how much my comp swears in both English and Spanish.  Every time I teach him a normal English verb, he starts to use it as a cuss word.  I find it hilarious, but I tell him not to do it.  Unfortunately, his swearing is affecting my Spanish.  To my ears, his swearing doesn’t mean much, but he knows how bad they are and he continues to use them.  Now I catch myself occasionally using them too.  I am pretty sure that we need to work on that.
September 6, 2015
Well today was good I suppose.  Our testimony meeting in church turned out to be Capitan Avalos story time as so often happens here.  After a REALLY long church, we went to a delicious lunch where we just stayed way too long with a family who has the worst language.  I tried so many times to leave, even sharing a spiritual message, but it didn’t work.  I was uncomfortable the whole time with all of the dirty jokes.  When we finally got out of there, I felt like the walking dead.
Miracle #363: The 17 year old that we are working with decided to make some changes in his life.  He started by taking out his face piercings.
         The funny part of the day was trying to talk to a returned missionary who recently came back from Brazil.  Because Spanish and Portuguese are so similar, she struggled to speak in Spanish.  She kept slipping in Portuguese words.  It was really hard to understand what she wanted to say, but it was even harder not to laugh.  Another good part of the day was seeing my companions excitement to learn English.  I really hope that he keeps it up and learns to say more that just swear words. 
         We found out that we have to spend another entire day shut up inside the house because of Chilean Independence day on September 11.
September 7, 2015
         Today was a rainy, miserable, cold, and fantastic day! My comp. fell asleep after lunch so I worked on the area book and read Jesus the Christ while listening to the pouring rain.  We finally left and went to visit this super old man who talked so much that I fell asleep.  Up to this point, I wasn’t the happiest missionary because I was freezing cold with my pants wet up to the thigh.  I don’t know how water got up so high, but it did.  The miracle of the day came when I needed it.
Miracle #364: We contacted a guy who had previously talked with the missionaries and I asked him if he wanted to be baptized.  He said yes! 
         The funny part of the day was trying to teach the worlds most difficult less active member.  She was bragging about how long she has been a member, but she hasn’t been to church in 3 months.  The horrible part of the day was getting more mission rules today.  Things are changing in this mission and the rules are getting more strict.  The new rule is that we have to wear a suit to every meeting including district meetings and all the ward activities.
September 8, 2015
         Today was a fun new change of pace. We started off the morning by painting for a service project.  It was for a lazy, wealthy, stingy Chilean investigator of the other elders.  He just left us the keys to his house and let us have at it.  It was quite a fun change to listen to music while painting. I’m not sure how much he will appreciate the finished product though.
         After the service project, we went to lunch at an investigators house and got an incredible Argentinian dish called milanesa.  She thought that all of the other elders were going to come too, so we got double portions! It was one of the best lunches I have had on the mission.
Miracle #365: A really cool person just gave us a bratwurst type sausage just because.
         There were a few funny parts of today, but one was finding out that one of our investigators has spent literally the past 4 months playing League of Legends.  Ugh, no way!  The other fun part of the day was re-contacting a street lady that I have already contacted.  It is a weird experience knocking on doors that you have already knocked on.  I even remember their names and religious backgrounds.  My comp doesn’t really get this because he hasn’t been here for very long. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Hard Week

 August 26, 2015
         It was a really lame p-day today.  Basically all we did was buy the food for the week and chill in the house.  I wanted to study with my companion, but he didn’t really care at all, so we just did a really long personal study.  I can’t say I hated it, because I honestly really love studying the scriptures and I never have enough time on a normal day to study as much as I want to.  We had several hours today to just read and learn and I used it to make lessons that I can use later on in my mission.
Miracle #352: Not much has happened today except that I downloaded the Book of Mormon in Portuguese and realized that I can understand it all.
        There wasn’t really a funny part of the day either.  The truth is that Elder Corbo didn’t want much to do with me today, so we didn’t talk much until the evening.  He really is a nice guy, but he is a lot like me and I guess we clash a bit.  I finally convinced him that we need to contact in order to find new people to teach.  He wants to drop all of our current investigators because he thinks that they are not progressing. 
         This afternoon we had a really good spiritual lesson with a less active family, but in the end the wife still insisted that she didn’t want to go to church.  It is the story of my mission, that I teach a lesson that feels as though it is meaningful, but it doesn’t make any difference in the lives of those I am teaching.
August 27, 2015
         Well today our District Leaders (yes we have two of them) wanted to do divisions.  Today was just an Argentinian swap because Elder Torres is the new DL and he is from Argentina.  The day really wasn’t too bad, it wasn’t blow your mind good, but it wasn’t awful either.  We ended up doing a fair amount of contacting, but the people didn’t care much about our message.
Miracle #353: One change ago Elder Torres was in this zone and I really didn’t like him, but after today, I like the guy and think he will be a good DL.
         The fun part of the day was going through my boxes of ties with Elder Torres and sorting through them all.  It took way too long.  Other than that, the day was pretty boring.  Elder Corbo and I fixed a few of our issues this morning.  This was the first division that I have been on that  was just okay.  Usually they are either incredibly good, or everything falls through and you accomplish nothing.
         The frustrating part of the day was seeing how disobedient the other companionship is….they wake up late, come home late, and stay up way too late to exercise at night instead of in the morning.
August 28, 2015
         Ughh, well today was rough.  It started out again with Elder Turnow and Elder Alstrom picking a fight with me while I was working out. It ended up with Elder Turnow spewing a bunch of crap at me.  I was all adrenalined up from my workout so I got ticked at him. I am sick of all the drama, so I changed the room all around so that I can do my workouts as far away as possible from the elders who like to sleep in every day.
Miracle #354: We had a really fantastic lesson about The Book of Mormon and in the end, the whole family was in tears. 
         The fun part of the day was when the zone leaders showed up to our house to “have a chat” because of the complaints about me.   Elder D. gave me some really great advice.  But, the most frustrating part of the whole situation is that Elder T. tries to correct me and then goes and is super disobedient.  Hypocrisy has always been something that I hate and it was more than a little gratifying that 30 minutes AFTER curfew, when the ZLs finally left, Elder T. was still not back at home.  Elder D. looked at me and said, “I get your point, but be patient.”
August 29, 2015
         I did everything that I could today to be obedient and work hard.  In the morning we left the house to go to some citas that ended up falling through.  I made a ridiculous contact with someone about the weather which ended up with a very cool lesson where I bore my testimony about the church.  It was pretty cool.  I love thinking of different ways to contact people.  This morning was kind of a flop to be honest.  Lunch was horrible. It actually made me want to vomit because it was drenched in grease. 
Miracle #355: We had a soccer BBQ activity that was a decent success.  Around 10 less active members came and a few investigators came too.
         The funny part of the day was seeing how much the other elders hurt after playing soccer for hours. It was also really lame because we had one last visit to make in the evening so I got ready to go and my companion didn’t.  We just messed around all day and then he wouldn’t go out and work.  I wasn’t happy about it, but I have learned that in this mission it is more important to get along with my companion that to do the mission work.  So you see, even if I am the senior companion, I can’t make him do work that he doesn’t want to do or he will complain about me and I will get in trouble again.  I felt crappy about not working, basically the whole day, but I did my part and was willing to do the work. 
August 30, 2015
         Well today I got calls from all sorts of leaders because I lost my temper with Elder T. again. Our ward was divided as far as missionary work goes, but we have people who are progressing that live in their part of the ward.  The rule is that if they are progressing, that you can continue to teach them.  Well Elder T. just wants the investigators so he claimed that they are not progressing and said that they are his to teach now.  Seriously, 2 of my families are on date to be baptized in September and he is stealing them. Bottom line is that I yelled at him and he immediately called “someone” and within a few hours I got a call from the president.
Miracle #356: I am really trying to not care about the mission drama because I know that I am working to the best of my abilities.
         The funny part of the day was hearing yet again that I would be a leader already if I didn’t have a temperament like I do.  Well I know better because harder personalities than mine exist in other missionary leaders. I love being a missionary, but I hate the politics and the drama.  I am working my butt off to try to be obedient and truly love the people so I have to just focus on that.
August 31, 2015
         I am having some off days.  Today it was hot which made me remember how hard summer is for missionaries.  We tried passing by a ton of contacts but it didn’t work out really well.  I am really sick of mission drama and I hate letting it suck me in.  The thought that I have a whole year left of this just makes me want to be done. This morning the district meeting was once again specifically targeted at me. The topic…humility.  I am sick of being told how huge my problem is.  Despite not wanting to, I worked today, and I worked hard.
Miracle #357: We were walking in the street and we found 2 sisters from the ward going to visit someone they didn’t know.  I knew her and was able to take them to her and introduce them.
         I am wiped out, probably because of the sun. I feel a lot like I did when I was teaching swim lessons!  The fun part of the day was probably exercises in the evening to appease the other companionship.  It was good fun because 3 of the 4 elders did it together. 
September 1, 2015
         I really am having a hard time with mission politics.  Today I figured out that I can feel better by just going out and doing missionary work.  I like doing contacts and visiting the people I love. My companion really doesn’t care about any of our investigators and he wants to drop them all because many of them are not progressing.  I suppose he is right and we should just do more contacts to find new investigators.  It is HOT outside lately so I cut my hair super short.  It feels good.
Miracle #358: My companion got up early today in order to do morning contacts and I found someone new to teach.
         There were a few funny parts of the day.  The President called 4 times today, the first two we were in a lesson.  It was freaking us out a bit, especially me  - thinking now what have I done?  When we finally called, it turned out that he had the wrong number.  I am also in the process of teaching my companion how to speak English words other than cuss words and dirty phrases.  I think that he has the potential to speak English really well it he practices, but he doesn’t want to.  Overall I am feeling a little better today, but still really discouraged about my purpose in the mission.
September 2, 2015
          Honestly Mom a few days ago the only thing that kept me from saying "I’m done" was my pride, the very thing causing my problems.  I am doing better than I was a couple of days ago, but I have to figure out what to do with my future.  It´s fast Sunday so that´s probably a good opportunity for me to figure some things out. 
        The politics are really getting to me. You have to learn how to play the game and the problem is that I don't want to play the game, so I always end up on the short end of the stick. See, other people are snitching and ratting on me, but I don't snitch and rat on them, and therefore I’m always getting in trouble. In the long run I know it is not right to snitch, but in the short run it's miserable. I’m okay being on the bottom of the pile, I just don’t like it when people are jumping on the top of the pile like a trampoline.  The frustrating thing is that they don't give a crap about whether missionaries willing to be obedient and work, and work hard.
        I really don't feel like I am making personal progress in the mission, serving a purpose to those around me, like I am being an effective missionary, making any kind a contribution to the mission in a positive way.  I wonder that if I came home if I could make better personal progress than I am making here. I don't think anyone should have to be in circumstance where the living conditions and environment are so stifling that you can't progress. I mean, I KNOW I can progress on the mission... but is it really more progress than I would see at home? Everyone would tell me that I should stay, but then they just put me down!
        I know the members love me and even my investigators love me, but it doesn’t make them want to progress or change.  I can just keep going for another year... but is it really worth it?  I honestly don’t want to have ANY regrets and if I came home now I know that I would have a ton of regrets.  I WANT to work, I even want to work with my companion, he is a good guy... its just all of this other crap that is getting to me.
       Keep me in your prayers and I will really be thinking about it this week.  I don’t know if I’m being a drama queen or if this crap really is as bad as I think it is, but I know can do it even if it is not the best thing for me.... that’s one thing insanity taught me.   In the inspiring words of Shaun T., "YOU CAN DO IT" shouted by a ridiculously ripped black man.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Good Week

August 19, 2015
         Today was a pretty good p-day. We started it all off with an early morning trip to the temple that went really well.  We all went as a district and it was really fun.  The Subway was packed full and it was next to impossible to get on so at one point all 3 companionships of guys lost their companions.  
 After going to the temple, we went to the distribution center and I got a Book of Mormon in Portuguese.  After that, we went as a district to the SLOWEST internet café ever.  The last thing we did was a little Chilean BBQ where we all stuffed ourselves with pure grease.
Miracle #345:  Just being inside the temple again after so long was great.  I don’t know how my siblings went throughout their entire missions in Brazil without it.
         The funny part of the day is just helping my comps who is still so young in the mission that he has no clue what to do.  He reminds me of me when I was out for 6 months.  He’s a great guy and I think I am going to learn a lot with him.  I have unfortunately been feeling crappy all day long so sadly it was another off day.
August 20, 2015
         Today it is Elder Corbo’s turn to be a grump.  I realized today that I have grown up more than I have given myself credit for.  I really love my new companion, but I am having to learn how to adjust to his dry sense of humor.  We had a great day today visiting quite a few people and still had time to meet the bishop and do contacts.  Elder Corbo hates contacting at night, so he refused to do it.  I didn’t even get a little bit frustrated with him, which really surprised me.  I’ll just help him get better.
Miracle #346: Even though Corbo didn’t want to contact, he did it anyway, and it went really well.  The lady invited us back!
         The funny part of the day was visiting R. in the morning.  Just as we were starting to teach him, the cops paid him a visit.  He was told that he had to pay a fine or go to jail. It was definitely an adventure. 
August 21, 2015
         Today was a good day with my dry companion.  I really like him, but I can never tell when he is being serious or not.  We went to do morning contacts this morning and he had a decent time of talking with people who didn’t want to talk to him.  We had some fun visits today and I really think that the people we talked to are going to progress.  The craziest visit was with F., the English guy.  He kept trying to ask very deep questions and we kept trying to give him correct, but simple, answers.  I ended up just telling him that it all boiled down to the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon and that he would need to read it and find out for himself .
Miracle #347: Elder T. and I are finally getting along again after a few weeks of fights/arguments over wakeup time and exercising.
         The funny part of the day was when my comp checked out a transvestite…to his credit it was difficult to tell from a distance.  We do seem to have an unusually high number of transvestites here in this sector. 
         The best lesson that we taught today was a lesson where we read a talk called “Beware of Pride.”  We taught it to a lady who is struggling with this problem (aren’t we all), and she felt that this talk was written specifically for her.  It turned out to be a great message because she felt the need to change and improve herself. 
August 22, 2015
         Today was another great day!  We started the day off by visiting some old ladies.  One of them told us all about how her husband left her for other women, and the other lady told us all about how her family (that lives with her) never feeds her.  I didn’t believe much of what they told me, but my comp. is convinced that old people don’t lie.  They do though.
Miracle #348:  This afternoon we went to Darlyn’s baptism.  She was an investigator from Pensamienta who I found the first month that I was with Elder Leon. She has been waiting for 8 months to be baptized! 
All the missionaries in order who helped to teach Darlyn.
       The baptism was spectacular.  I was so happy to see the ward again and was honestly surprised that they remembered me.  I thought that due to the short amount of time I was there, that no one would remember me.  But, I was wrong.  Darlyn and her family and the other family that I taught both that they would never forget me and Elder Leon for being the first missionaries to teach them.  It was really great to be allowed to go to the baptism. In a lot of missions, the rules are that you can’t got back to your old areas for baptisms.  That is just so sad!  That is just one more reason that I am grateful for being here where I am serving. It is a kind of tough place to teach and be accepted, but I love it.
August 23, 2015
         Today was really busy with lots of visits to make. There really isn’t much to tell honestly.  Very few of the people that we teach came to church today and it was really depressing as usual.  No matter how hard you try and how much you love the people, they still don’t progress most of the time. There was an uncharacteristically good talk today in church, but they got cut off in the end because the meeting was running long.  It bummed me out. 
Miracle #349: We already have almost half of next week set up in our planner.
         The fun part of the day was watching Kite fighting.  This is a big big deal here in Chile.  There is a thread here that they use as a kite string that is called “hilo curado” or literally cured thread.  Basically it is a string dipped in glue and coated with powdered glass.  It is kind of like cheese wire in that it can literally decapitate people …so it is very illegal to use.  Of course, everyone uses it to cut the other person’s kite string.  I don’t know how they do it, but it is cool to watch. 
         The other funny part of the day was watching 2 drunk people screaming at each other.  I have honestly gotten to the point where drunkards are just a common everyday site.  My comp. still hates them….and old people.  UPDATE: I still can’t tell when my companion is being sarcastic.
August 24, 2015
         So I have decided that Elder Corbo is a ton like I was at 6 months out, only older.  He, like I used to, hates a ton of things about the mission and is constantly complaining.  He is also a good contacter and teacher, and honestly a very good missionary, but he needs to figure out how to humble himself.  We had a decent number of citas today, but my comp. kept telling me to not make the baptismal invitation.  He is having a hard time figuring out that THAT is what we do and is a huge part of being a missionary.
Miracle #350: R. didn’t go to jail and he is still trying to figure things out, and I still really love the guy.  I just want him to figure out how to make better decisions.
         The funny part of the day was this tiny little rat of a dog that was let out of a back room while we were teaching and it launched itself at Elder Corbo.  The fun part of the day was passing the calisthenics place and messing around on the bars with a big group.
August 25, 2015
         Well, today was kindof sucky.  We did our morning contacts and it was hard.  Then I had a terrible personal study time where I almost fell asleep.  After that was a super hard workout and then I finished off the morning by cleaning our room solo because my comp doesn’t care about cleaning. As I was finishing, a horrible headache hit me like I have never had before.  It lasted all through lunch and even just looking at a light made it feel like I had a pair of midgets behind my eyeballs using them as punching bags.  I had to sleep for around an hour and a half before I could go out to work.
Miracle #351: We had our first followup cita actually turn out today and it was with a lady who was sincerely interested in our message.
         Elder Corbo is still really pessimistic and shows no hope for the people here in our sector.  I just want him to quit being such a downer.  On the lighter side of things, during one of our lessons this little puppy kept running around humping with everything in the room.  The other funny part was when my comp. couldn’t stop watching a movie that was playing while we were teaching a lesson.  I am happy to report that I am FINALLY starting to be able to both stay awake in lessons, AND ignore a movie and do what I am supposed to be doing.  There is progress people!