Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Just keep working

January 13, 2016

         Today was another pretty crappy p-day. My companion wanted to go to a zone activity to watch a movie and on the way, I bought the bike parts we needed.  I was finishing with the bike wheel for what ended up being 2 ½ hours while my comp watched the movie.  I could not believe how ridiculously hard my comps tires are to change.  We were so short on time, that I didn’t get to relax for even a second. The whole situation put me in a ridiculously bad mood.

Miracle #522: Today I got my new debit card in the mail.  Normally, letters take a very long time to get here, but my card got here in less than two weeks.

         The funny part of the day was just losing it because of the stupid bikes.  On top of it all, I lost the receipt for the purchase which I had to have to ask for a reimbursement.  Hermana Clark, our finances manager, had mercy on me and we got everything worked out.  I’m on really good terms with the mission office and it is actually fun to be in the office with them.  This next p-day I have to think o something fun to do.  Either that or we will go to the temple.  That would be nice.

January 14, 2016

         Today was all right.  This morning, I had a really super good study session.  We got our weekly planning done.  After going to a lesson that fell through, we had a delicious lunch, but right afterwards I started to feel really sick.  I had to lay down and I fell asleep for 45 minutes.  I beat myself up for being lazy, and then I just decided to move on.  We had some super spiritual lessons where we taught about The Book of Mormon.

Miracle #523: One of our new investigators already feels like our message is true and is preparing for baptism.

          The funny part of the day had to do with the bikes.  First off, my front tire had a slow leak so I replaced the tube.  After replacing the tube, the new tube got a leak!  Every 5-10 minutes I had to pump up my tire.  The other funny thing was that my legs were burning from a hardcore leg workout yesterday, but somehow I rode faster than my companion even despite having to pump up my tire.  In this last week, I have readjusted his breaks, bought a more efficient tire, and yet somehow he is riding slower than before. 

January 15, 2016

         Today was fairly good.  We didn’t work all that much, but we got things done.  In the morning we had a service where we painted a little bus stop hut for a few hours, which was pretty fun.  After lunch, my stomach cramped again and I was hurting.  I only laid down for 20 minutes and I didn’t fall asleep.  We then decided to do some work in the church on he computer so we went and spent almost 2 hours doing all that fun stuff. My companion had to do some in field capacitation internet courses that I never did in my training.  Finally, at 7:00 we hit the streets.

Miracle #524: Elder H. felt impressed to visit  a member who has been sick all week.  She was well enough to receive us and we had a good lesson.

         The funny part of the day was the first official lesson with one of our new contacts.  As we taught her we learned that she was taught and baptized before but became inactive shortly after her baptism.  The other funny part of the day was listening to my companion do his training on family history in English.  He is very fluent in English but his accent is super silly at times.

January 16, 2016

         Well today was not good.  Our lunch fell through so we made our own and then finished our studies.  After that, we dropped by a ton of people that we teach to invite them to church tomorrow.  W felt badly because we ended up showing up to our missionary correlation meeting 30 minutes late.  That is to say, we felt badly until we got there and neither the sisters nor our ward mission leader were there.  The meeting was at 3, we got there at 3:25, and the others didn’t get there until 4:15.  Seriously, that is ridiculous.  I just gave our mission leader our progress report and said, “sorry we have to go now, we hope to see you next week.”  I thought I was pretty “in control” considering how I felt.

Miracle # 525:  We went back to a planned lesson that had fallen through and they were there so we taught a lesson and they promised to go tomorrow.

         The funny part of the day was probably trying to do list work (which I hate and my companion loves.) We worked on the list for around 2 hours and we didn’t get a thing accomplished.  Then we contacted for 2 more hours and still didn’t accomplish anything.  It was a slow day and the first really lame day in the mission for my companion.

January 17, 2016

         Today was pretty good.  At church today some our our people actually showed up.  It was interesting because basically none of our older investigators and less actives came, but both of our new families did.  On top of that, in executive committee meeting, we actually felt like it was worthwhile and efficient. We think that the little interview that we had with the bishop really helped us out.  The not so great part of the day was that we really didn’t have planned lessons, so we had to do more contacting.  It was a super hot day, like 98 degrees in the shade hot.  It was so hot that my back was literally dripping sweat for 2 hours straight.

Miracle #526: During our hours of contacting, we had 2 contact lessons.  This happened in the same place where yesterday no one would talk to us. 

          There were several funny parts of the day.  One of the funniest parts of the day was in gospel principle class.  To preface the situation, the teacher of that class hates me. Anyways, we divided into groups to study some scriptures and share what we learned.  While the other group was sharing, the bishop started talking to me and when I responded, the teacher, with obvious hat snapped at me to “Shut Up.” I just looked at her innocently and pointed to the bishop and said, “He did it.” Everyone laughed, except her.

January 18, 2016

         Today ended up being a really good day. We did morning contacts for an hour and actually got 2 references. After going home and doing the morning routine we went off to lunch.  Th sister we ate with didn’t have a man in the house so we had to eat outside at a little child’s table.  The lunch was amazing Columbian food and there was so much of it!  We were required to gorge ourselves and I will tell you what, I more than obliged.  Following the lunch we basically went straight to work.  It was one of the first real workdays we have had.

Miracle #527: In the very end of the day, we were guided by the spirit to find 3 people in a row.

         The funny part of the day was probably after lunch.  I finished way fast and we were alone outside, so I fell asleep for a few minutes and woke up just as the Sisters were finishing eating inside.  It was great timing.  The good part of the day was going to visit a family that the bishop asked us to visit.  I called the bishop tonight to report to him and he was very grateful that we had quickly done what he asked us. I am happy because I think that we are gaining the bishops trust.

January 19, 2016

         Well today was both good and bad.  This morning, I woke up to a very unwanted text telling us that one of our investigator’s wife (to-be) is in the hospital in a coma.  Apparently she had a simple operation to repair a hernia and had complications.  We left early from our district meeting  to head over to the hospital to support our investigator and to pray for his wife.  It was pretty depressing to go to the hospital where Mario died 6 months ago.  \

Miracle #528: V. stabilized and the doctors think that she has a good chance of recovering.

         The funny/tragic part of the day was waking up to the stench of burning garbage.  There is a nearby garbage dump that is on fire and it is pouring out toxic smoke.  The entire community of San Bernardo was clouded over with the smoke of the trash fire.  It was so toxic that we were told to wear masks until the clouds dispersed. 

         The other funny part of the day was going out to do divisions with eh second counselor of the bishopric.  He is the bishopric member who defends u the most, and as he was talking with us he expressed to us how frustrated he is for the same reasons that we are.  We tried not to gossip, but it was nice to hear some words of support.

January 20, 2016

         Today was an interesting day.  This morning we did our regular routine but instead of going to lunch, we had a worldwide missionary training meeting, which was pretty decent.  It was a lot like watching the District mixed with General Conference.  It was really interesting because a lot of the things that they talked about were things that I had already been thinking about and working on.  After the conference, we went off to lunch and out to work.  It was pretty slow overall, but in the end we had a really good lesson with V. and E.

Miracle #529: For the first time in over 3 weeks, w actually got back to the house at 10:00.

          The funny part of the day was watching the broadcast and seeing all of the missionaries in the states with their Ipads.  It was funny because my companion will soon be headed to the states and will get his.  He bugs me about it all the time.  In the end, I told him that in 6 months, while he is still knocking doors, I will be watching his favorite movies.     

Another week of training

January 6, 2016

         Today was a lame p-day. We decided to go to Santa Lucia hill with some other missionaries and it was all right, but it could have been way better.  We didn’t even have time to go do the ONE thing that I actually wanted to do today, which was buy new shoes for my workouts.  Mine are getting wrecked once again. I love the beginning of the month because I have money to buy food and experiment with new dietary habits.  We had to end our p-day early to be able to get out to the edge of our sector to teach some lessons.  We went all the way out there with a member who lent me his BMX bike.  You can’t sit down on a BMX bike, so the 10 km were exhausting!
Miracle #515: Somehow we managed to get everything done 20 minutes early on p-day.
         The funny part of the day was going to meet up at the other elder’s house to go to the hill with Elder Anderson.  Supposedly, they were all going to be ready, but all of them were laying around in bed…at 10:15!  It was hard to get back to the house on time.  I rode like the wind. Even though my bike is a mountain bike and his is a road bike, I totally wrecked him. I was proud of him though because he really pushed himself.

January 7, 2016

Today was a good day but ended with a flop. In the morning we had our 2 week capacitation and it was pretty interesting. With all of the trainers together, we just talked about issues and when I mentioned what happened yesterday with the DLs sleeping in, the assistants reaction surprised me.  They told me that that kind of thin should be reported immediately to either them or the zone leaders.  I don’t think that it is that big of a deal and have never ratted someone out for that kid of stuff that goes on all the time. The rest of the day we taught lessons and contacted and my kid kicked butt. He is a boss of a missionary!  I still have to remember that he has only been on his mission for 2 weeks.

Miracle #516: I told my kid that he was going to do a contact and lead the discussion and he did a great job!

         The funny part of the day was the flop at the end in the lesson with V. and V.  We were reviewing the requirements for baptism with them and we realized that they had not understood the law of chastity lesson.  Turns out that they are not married.  It was super uncomfortable to work through that lesson again.

January 8, 2016

         So today was interesting. We started with an early-bird painting service project where a Peruvian Elder and I were the only ones working.  Interestingly, we both had been trained by the same Elder, so he must have taught us well.  After that, we got home and I made bread while my companion was in the shower.  It turned out a lot better than last time, but it still came out a little dense.  By the tie we finished our personal study, we had to go to lunch, which ended up being tiny, so I was glad that I made brad.  We returned to the house after lunch to do our weekly planning, then we had a great lesson with S.

Miracle #517: We didn’t have anything planned for today, but we managed to keep ourselves occupied.  We ended up teaching 2X more lessons than we planned.

         The funny part of the day was when the sisters told is that one of them had a bad foot so they weren’t going to be able to leave.  This meant that we needed to take their lunch to them. Remember that we ride bikes so we really do put that much strain on our feet.  Later on that day we saw them riding their bikes and working.  I think that they just didn’t want to ride the extra far distance to the lunch appointment. 

January 9, 2016

         Today was decent, but very tiring.  This morning was filled with studies and computer work at the church.  After eating lunch we did our 12 week training studies and headed out to work.  We went out to visit some investigators out in the fields, but the lady wasn’t there.  It turns out that she is kind of hard on her husband. He is a very kind and soft spoken man and we love him.  His wife returned while we where there and she just treated him like dirt.  I felt bad for him.

Miracle #518: On a whim, we went to a recent contact and we taught a really good lesson.  He was very interested and even committed to baptism if he gets an answer that the church is true.

         The funny part of the day was using the bathroom after my comp. and other elders used the bathroom.  I realized that guys are just disgusting when it comes to aiming and flushing.  Funny bathroom day.  The weird part of my day was that EVERYONE I met gave me a peach.  I love fruit and especially peaches, so this was a nice treat for me.  Today was also a great day because I managed to stay awake all day long. I impressed myself.  
January 10, 2016
         I’m tired, so so so tired. On top of that, today was a very disappointing Sunday.  Of about 15 people who said that they were  going to come to church., we had 2 show up.  I was a little bit low on energy so a few people started to chew me out.  I just completely ignored them.  Everything was running really late today (Latin timing).  The sisters had a baptism so lunch and everything got postponed about 2 hours.  My comp was in charge of the day and didn’t have much planned.  We attempted to do contacts this afternoon, but my comp was also feeling off so they weren’t the best contacts he has done. 

Miracle #519:  In the beginning of our lesson with V. he said he wasn’t interested in getting married, but by the end he said that he would think more deeply about it.

         The funny part of the day was probably trying to teach about the law of Chastity in a way that was more direct and clear and yet still reverent. 

January 11, 2016

         Today was a pretty decent day. We had a good morning of studies until lunch, where we had to wait outside for 15 minutes for a man to arrive.  When the man got there, we ate a shepherds pie type thing that was made with soy meat.  It was surprisingly good.  The rest of the day went pretty well.  We ended up being busy all day long.  Our lessons were all really good except for one.  He last lesson took the cake.  We taught the lesson about the atonement with the pushup object lesson.  After doing 250 push-ups my companion read D&C 19 and I bore my testimony.  The spirit was strong.

Miracle #520: One of our investigators accepted a date for baptism.

         The funny part of the day was when the family who we taught the atonement lesson to, practically forced me to eat fried empanadas.  The other funny part of the day was telling lame jokes during a very awkward meal. 

January 12, 2016

         Everything kindof fell through today.  Our first lesson was the only one that worked out.  It was very uneventful day and I got pretty frustrated with the situation.  I tried to really help my companion take initiative in contacting, but at times it was really hard.  This week he is supposed to lead the contacting efforts, but his is still not quite ready.  I have to remember that he is so new to the mission without having had the MTC experience.  We sure did contact in a lot of different ways.

Miracle #521: I was kind of sick of contacting, but decided to be a good example and keep going.  I started a contact just by asking about some art hanging in a window. Not only was the man receptive, but he also gave me the picture. 

         The funny part of the day was probably contacting every possible way I could think of.  There were times where I kind of threw my companion under the bus.  For example, we started to help a guy dig out trenches around some trees and I just waited for my comp to contact him.  When he didn’t, I said in English, “contact him” and then only helped him a little bit.  He struggled quite a bit, but it turned out all right in the end.  I am not sure why I let myself get bothered by some of the stupidities that happen, but I do.  I am getting better at just moving on.
New shoes

Monday, January 11, 2016

Hit by a bus and called the devil, but othrwise a good week!

December 30, 2016

         Today wasn’t as great as yesterday, but it was still an above average missionary day.  This morning we had our first planning session and companionship study.  I realized that Elder H. is way more prepared for the mission than I was when I left.  I feel like the MTC really wouldn’t teach him much that he doesn’t already know.  I am not the best choice of a trainer for a missionary who is as well prepared as he is.  But, I will try my hardest and do my best.  The first thing that we did today was contact for 2 hours straight.  We found 3 possible investigators and got to know each other a lot better.  The only lame thing about having bike as a trainer is that it is impossible to chat in route.

Miracle #508: On our division at the end of the day, plans A,B,C, and D all fell through.  My last ditch effort ended up working out and we had a good lesson.

December 31, 2016

         Well 2015, an entire year in the mission field, has come and gone.  By this time next year I will be with my family and friends.  It has been a very unique year.  I have been blessed with many things including one of the greatest blessings of my life, that of a strengthened personal testimony. I just want to dedicate what I have left in my mission and go all out. 

Today was a decent day.  This morning we had a service project, so we had to do our studies after lunch. It was incredibly hard to study on a full stomach.  We both hit a wall and on more than one occasion, we had to spray each other with water to stay awake.

Miracle #509: One of our most difficult investigators actually listened to our lesson today about the life of Christ and for the first time in a long time, I felt the spirit while teaching him.

         The funniest part of the day was eating dinner with some members for New Years.  We just had a blast. For example, at one point we started talking about Americans and they said, “Well we are Americans too!”  I told them that in the states, many people think that everyone who lives south of the border speaks Spanish and is Mexican. They thought that was pretty funny. These last three days with my new companion have been both fun, and spiritual.  I have felt the guidance of the spirit more than in most of my mission.  One of the coolest quotes that left my mouth today was, “We need to sin, or make mistakes, in order to learn, but we need to repent in order to progress.”

January 1, 2016

         Today was not a good day for me.  I slept in (until the usual time to wake up) which was a mistake for me.  After studies we went to play soccer with the zone.  I hate soccer, but my comp is a fanatic so we went.  On the way, my comp rode straight through a pothole despite many warnings to avoid them, and busted a tire. During the activity I got way too much sun because I forgot to wear sunscreen.  When we got back to the house, I had to replace the tire because it already had 5 patches on it. I got really irritated when I found out that the bike shop gave my old companion a tire tube that was too small.  I ended up putting it on anyways and I really hope that it doesn’t explode.  It was not a fun p-day at all. 

         To top it off, the work was slow.  In the one lesson we had, I decided to go and  visit a member who is struggling to stay active.  He is very bitter and wouldn’t listen. He kept making excuses for his choices and it sucked the life and the spirit right out of me.

Miracle #510: Even though we weren’t in a lesson, we decided to work until the last possible minute.  We offered a special prayer and were led to someone who normally doesn’t get home until 10 p.m..  That is too late for us to visit, so the fact that they were home early was really a miracle.

         The funny part of the day was getting hit in the head by a soccer ball.  I was playing goalie and when an elder went to kick the ball in, it bounced off my head and still went in.  I am the worst soccer player ever. 

January 2, 2016

         Today was a far better day than yesterday.  This morning we were able to do all of our studies and had extended language study.  Wen lunchtime rolled around, we found out that we didn’t have a lunch appointment.  So, we bought some ingredients and had a bonding time cooking a sauce for our spaghetti.  It actually turned out super tasty and it made a ton so we started out our fast very full and happy. 

Miracle #511: As soon as we started the fast, clouds came out and cooled the afternoon down.  My sunburned face really appreciated that. The other miracle of the day was also pretty funny to me so I will explain it below.

         The funny part of the day was after our missionary correlation meeting.  I was doing my job as a trainer and teaching Elder H. how to use El Rescate, which is a computer program that theoretically helps to find less active members.  I hate the program, but it is my responsibility to train him with it.  So as we printed our list of 100 names (narrowed down from 800), I was whining about the program.  Then later that day there came a point in the day when we really didn’t have anything to do, so my kid wanted to use the list.  Taking it more like a joke, I accepted the challenge and we went to visit ONE of the people on the list who happened to live in the neighborhood we were in.  Believe it or not, they were home! Not only that, but they were receptive and we taught them a lesson and they want us to come back.  My kid is a BOSS!

January 3, 2016

         Well I got run over by a bus today.  Technically, my bike got run over, and miraculously I was uninjured.  I was riding along next to the sidewalk and a bus was getting ready to turn right, but was stopped.  I started to ride past the bus at the same time the bus pulled away.  The driver didn’t bother to look in his mirrors and just started to cut me off.  It freaked me out and I desperately tried to get up onto the sidewalk.  Unfortunately, I was too close to the curb and instead of making it onto the sidewalk, I just skidded along the curb until I fell and the bike slide under the bus.  The driver didn’t even slow down or stop.  Luckily it only ran over the tire and even though it screwed up the rim, I was able to fix it and make it ride-able.

Miracle #512: I could have easily been badly hurt or even killed by the bus today, but I was unharmed. 

         The funny part of the day was when a family “made” me break my New Year’s healthy food resolution. I was doing so well until they opened some packages of my favorite Chilean dessert cookies.  Everyone was laughing at my lack of self-control after having eaten just one cookie.  I just can’t stop myself.

January 4, 2015

         Today was a fairly typical work day.  All of our plans fell through and we ended up contacting for around 4 hours straight. The contacts weren’t that bad, but they weren’t the best either.  Elder H. is still trying to get past the whole talking to strangers block so the contacts are sometimes a little bit uncomfortable, but they are fun anyways.  Overall, it was fairly uneventful day.  I didn’t even get run over.

Miracle #513: I was able to fix my tire even more today. Not it is acceptable to ride on.  The thing is that the store we went to didn’t have the type of rim that I needed to replace it.

         The funny part of the day was pretty lame.  Usually I ask people if I can give them something and then when they say yes, I hand them a pamphlet.  But, today instead of giving a woman something that taught about God, I gave her little grandson a can of peaches that I randomly had in my bag.  You would have thought that I had given the kid a hundred bucks.  She immediately opened up to us after that and we had a pretty good contact lesson.

January 5, 2015

         Well today was a great day!  I went on a division with Elder Anderson because elder Diaz is my DL again.  We had a rally good day, but there were some bad parts.  For example, we went to visit our very difficult investigator who started complaining about me to poor Elder Anderson who is so new in the mission field that he can’t really understand anything that is said if the spirit is not present. So here is this crazy mean man ranting to this American kid about this other American kid.  In the end he called me the devil and returned the Book of Mormon that we gave him.  I was upset, but really not sad about losing him.  He was really difficult to teach and we weren’t getting anywhere.

Miracle #514: One of our other investigators did a full fast and is super set on moving forward.

         The funny part of the day was probably when we had a super talkative member of our ward accompany us to a lesson. He has a specific story that he loves to tell and I have heard it man times.  When he started to tell the story, I leaned over to Elder Anderson and said, “we are late and this story will take 20 minutes.  We have to excuse ourselves.”  I managed to tactfully make it out of there and to one last division and lesson. We ended up the day with a whopping 7 lessons and 3 divisions.    

2nd Christmas - Training transfer

Carolling with the ward.
December 23, 2015
         Today was the annual Christmas concert for the whole mission.  We spent essentially the whole day at the conference having fun and messing around.  In the morning we watched a really interesting movie called “Freetown” about missionaries in Africa and I thought it was really good. I love movies made by church members about missionaries because usually they have some good spiritual moments and they make me feel grateful for being a missionary. Sometimes it is easy to forget that I am doing the best work on the face of the Earth.
One of the most fun families in the ward!
Miracle #501: We didn’t have a plan for this evening, but I felt prompted to suggest going to a less active member who is never home.  Today they were home and they told us that our visit to them was just what they needed. 
         The funny part of the day was also the most stressful.  I left my bag on the ground by the church as we went to go and buy some bike parts.  When I got back, it was gone.  I freaked out for about 20 minutes and then I thought about reviewing the security camera to see if I could tell who took my bag.  It worked!  I saw that our zone leaders picked it up and knew that I could get it back.  Crisis controlled.
         Turned out that I completely broke my pedal off today and I also learned that the axle of my back tire is super crooked.
December 24, 2015
         Today was pretty dang fun!  This morning we spent a really long time fixing my bike. (more karma)  We finally got my pedal replaced and by luck the gears are bigger so I can pedal even faster!  It also turned out that the axle on my back wheel was cracked in half , not just bent so I replaced that too.  The bright side of having to replace nearly every part of my bike is that I know bikes like the back of my hand.  If I have the tools and the parts, I can fix anything.
Miracle #502: Today I was going to use some really poor internet service to call my family, but at the last minute, our great investigators offered their really good internet to us to call home!      
        The fun part of the day was talking to my family.  I’m really excited for the moment when I can talk to them without having a little timer in the corner.   
         After the call, we went caroling for 1 ½ hours.  We basically drove around from house to house.  I felt like a missionary in the states for a little while.  The best part of the caroling was visiting one of our investigators.  Her husband was there for the first time and we made a really good first impression.  The last fun part of the day was having a Colombian banquet for Christmas dinner. 
Colombian Christmas dinner, it was AMAZING!


December 25, 2015
         Today was a pretty great day.  It started with waking up on time (which for me is sleeping in) and studying for 2 hour.  After that I did 1 ½ hours of insanity.  Then we went to visit the V. family from my first ward to wish them a Merry Christmas.  My “best friend” Maxi was the one who came out of the house to greet me.  At first he didn’t recognize me, but when he did, he ran up to me and gave me a huge hug and almost started crying.  I was really happy that I could make this Christmas a special Christmas for him.  I gave him a plaque as a gift and he was super happy. This time around I could understand their Spanish and speak with them fluently.   
On Christmas I went to visit one of the first families I met here in Chile (familia Valenzuela).
After that awesome visit, we went to Capitan Avalos to eat a Chilean BBQ.  The meat was absolutely delicious so we ate WAY too much. 
Chilean BBQ in Capitan Avalos
Following the enormous lunch, my companion called home and talked to his family.  When we finally started working, we didn’t have much success. 
Miracle #503: We felt prompted to go back to a street where we had already been, but as we were headed back, the family who was previously gone, came home.  We had a good lesson.

         So the lame part of the day was finding out that one of the sisters in our district is going home early for health reasons.  The stress of a mission is really hard on a lot of missionaries.  It really bummed me out.
December 26, 2015
         Today was a normal life in the life of Elder Colvin until suddenly President Cook called. I almost fell off my bike when he told me that I was going to train this next transfer.  At first I was super pumped and now I am just feeling the stress building up prematurely.  Other than that, the day was pretty good.  This morning we fixed the sister’s bikes because they managed to break an axle too. 
Miracle #504: I am going to train.  I always hoped that I would, but never really thought the President would trust me to.
         The funny part of the day was when my comp ate it HARD for no apparent reason.  He tore up his pants, but other than that, he was fine.  The other miracle of the day was meeting L. C., the daughter of one of our investigators.  She was very interested in our message. The only lame part of the day was having to bike a butt load after doing a hardcore leg exercise routine this morning.  I am super tired, but excited to train.
December 27, 2015
         Today was interesting.  Basically we did whatever my companion wanted to do because he is leaving this sector.  It was one of the most hectic and unplanned days of my entire mission.  I love Elder M, but I really hope he gets himself more organized.  We also went to the goodbye meeting of all of the missionaries who go home tomorrow because my companion wanted to go.  
My old district before changes.
This time we actually got a less active to go with us, which theoretically is one of the requirements to go. The best lesson was once again with V. and his whole family.  They are so great!
Miracle #505: Someone gave us a ride back to our house.  We didn’t even personally know them, but they saw us in a rush and helped us out.
         The funny part of the day was getting out of the last visit 15 minutes late.  My companion wanted to stay even longer, even though it was already past curfew.  When we got out of the visit, we had to start running because we didn’t have our bikes.  The funny part was that my big, chunky, out of shape companion runs faster than my short little legs with let me.  I literally cannot run, but I am motivate to improve this next transfer if can convince my companion to run with me.
December 28, 2015
         Today I got up earlier that usual (about 5:30) and it actually worked shockingly well.  I got up faster and was more alert and less tired throughout the day.  Today was interesting.  We had a new trainer meeting where President Cook scared us into the reality of training. At the end, he pulled me aside and gave me a little heads up about who I would be training.  He said, “ You are going to train a missionary from Argentina and the MTC president said that he has some pride issues, so don’t let your pride clash with his. “  WAY good pep-talk, right?!
Miracle #506: Virtually all of our plans worked out.  We even got our 2 planned divisions in.
         The funny part of the day was when my comp. bent my brand spanking new bike pedal.  I guess he was just moving it, and it bent by itself.  It was also really fun joking around in the training meeting.  I feel like I am probably not ready to do this, but I will do my best.  I am really excited to train and I pray that I will do a good job.  I am determined to love my companion and get along with him.
December 29, 2015
         So I guess that President Cook either changed his mind or he was a little bit mixed up yesterday because he didn’t give me someone from Argentina, he gave me a Chilean!  I have always wanted a Chilean companion and it is even cooler that I get to train one. His name is Elder Huaiquinir and he has a very unusual and interesting situation.  He was called to serve in the Arizona, U.S., but he is waiting for VISA paperwork to be approved.  So, without even going to the MTC, he is here in this mission.  I am not really sure why he did not go to the MTC first, but I am really excited to train him.  He is a SUPER cool kid, and he will be a great missionary.
Miracle #507: We had an incredible first day! The best part was when I was inspired by the spirit to visit someone who we had previously stopped visiting.  We technically had a lesson scheduled for that time, but for some reason I felt like they weren’t going to be there. I called to double check and sure enough, they weren’t home.  But the other family that I was prompted to call was home and we had a very good first lesson.
         The funny part of the day was probably sucking the energy out of my companion by riding 15 km out to visit some people.  It was also pretty funny when one of the people we teach started to talk to my comp about current events and for a minute I thought, “How do you know all this stuff?!” Then I realized that just yesterday he was a normal person.  He confessed to me that just last night he was playing Grand Theft Auto V.  Talk about a change of pace!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Birthday Cake and Christmas Baptism

My 20th birthday cake!
December 16, 2015

         Today was a pretty sweet birthday.  This morning we had to clean our house, but this afternoon we opened our fardo of ties and spent 2 hours sorting through them.  It ended up being a very good fardo with a ton of sweet ties.  We actually found 4 really cool matching ties, one for each district leader. 
        After writing our families, we went to a less active member’s house.  The girl in that house made me an incredible chocolate cake for my birthday!  That was really sweet of her, but what made my day extra special was:

Miracle #494: On a p-day (with only 3 hours of missionary work), we had 5 lessons, and 3 divisions.  That has never happened in all of my mission.

         The fun part of the day was getting a few birthday phone calls from mission friends.  It was a nice feeling to know that I have friends who care about me on the mish.  In the end of the day, I was very lucky in having a birthday fall on a p-day.  It kind of makes up for the extra sucky birthday last year where I changed sectors and walked around lost all day with a companion that hated me. 
This awesome christmas carolling group that also came by on my birthday!
December 17, 2015

         Today was pretty dang decent.  This morning we had to do some baptismal interviews and they were really awesome. The woman I interviewed was very prepared so much so hat interviewing her ended up being a super spiritual experience for me.  After that the zone leaders talked to us about something that happened in our ward council meeting, which was not even a big deal.  Basically I was advised to just grin and bear it and not contradict obvious problems. To me it is not a council if you just keep your mouth shut and avoid expressing your thoughts and feelings.  This afternoon we had a lesson with an investigator who was just about to be baptized.  I don’t know why, but we felt that he wasn’t ready and today we learned that he decided to not come to church because he was offended by something that I said.

Miracle #495: I managed to control my irritation with the investigator and in the same day we visited with our other to progressing families.

My first Chile jersey (given by franco)
         The best part of the day was getting an American Cup Chile jersey from Franco.  Most missionaries buy soccer jerseys, but I haven’t had the chance yet.  The funny part of the day was getting a push pin in my bike tire and having to patch my tube (more Karma.)  I took advantage of the moment to patch my spare tube a well.  In the space of 2-3 weeks, we have had to put about 12 patches on the bikes.  It is absolutely absurd how many times our bikes get flats…(darn Karma).

December 18, 2015

         Terrible terrible day today.  This morning we had to get our house inspected by the zone leaders and afterwards we had to do inspections ourselves.  The inspections were fine, but it took up the whole morning.  After lunch, we planned a great district meting.  When we finally got out to work, everything fell through and we crossed a lot of people off of our list of future investigators.  We also tried to contact new people and no one wanted a thing to do with us.  The interesting part of the day was going to a member’s house and getting counseled about the choir situation.  It was silly, but it was well intentioned and tactful, so I thanked them politely.

Miracle #496: At the end of the day, we hadn’t had any lessons, but we were able to find a family we have been looking for for weeks.

         The funny part of the day was going to an all-gringo house to inspect them and seeing all of the fun and stupid stuff that they get to do as a group.  I would really like to live with other people now.  Elder M. and I are pretty good friends now, but it is more fun with other people. 

December 19, 2015

         Today was another crappy day.  We have wasted so much time this week and today was just another day of that.  This morning we went to choir practice because tomorrow we sing in a concert this and after that practice we went to a service project out in the boonies.  The service project lasted only an hour, but it was also our lunch so we ended up being there for around 3 hours.  Afterwards we did manage a lesson, and then missionary correlation. 

Miracle #497: For the third time since I got here (11 weeks ago) we had our “weekly” ward mission council.

Their names are Geni, Reghi, and Laydy
        The best part of the day was going back to Capitan Avalos again for another baptism of an entire family that I taught.  That ward is doing really well now.  It was a pretty sweet  to feel the spirit that is present in baptisms and see a whole family make that decision.  The major bummer of the day was when we visited one of our “best” investigator and she explained to us how she had felt that the Catholic church was where she needed to be. Highs and lows of missionary work were felt today to be sure.

December 20, 2015

         So today was all right.  First we went to a pointless ward council meeting where we were physically present but did absolutely nothing (just as we were told.) After that, I played a Christmas musical number in sacrament meeting which turned out really well.  It wasn’t that good technically, but by Chilean standards it was excellent. After church we studied a bi and went to lunch.  Next, we went to a member’s house to make sure that everything would work out fine for our skype calls home on Christmas Eve. 

Miracle #498: Our district is all good.  We have very good relationships with all of our missionaries and I really love them. 

         So I have decided that I am really NOT a fan of being a missionary during Christmas time.  It is not like I want to go home to my family, but I really really want to be with my family at Christmas.  I think all will be easier after Christmas. One of the hardest time for me is when everyone asks me what our family traditions are and then in telling them what we do, I miss my family even more.  Last Christmas was super lame in the mission, so this year I am going to make it much better.

December 21, 2015

         Well today was interesting.  I went on divisions with Elder Pizarro again today.  He is an elder in our district.  He is a new missionary being trained.  We walked around quite a lot and contacted a decent number of people.  From what I saw in their sector, there are more opportunities for growth. 

Miracle #499: We taught 3 lessons in a sector where for the entire week they average 10. 

         The funny part of the day was helping out with a caroling activity where in the end only Elder P. and I ended up doing all of the singing.  The funny part of the day was rearranging the elder’s room to give them more space. I don’t know why men are so horrible at organizing and maintaining their personal space.
December 22, 2015

         Today was just ehh. After meeting up again after divisions, we went to help make gingerbread cookies with a small group in our ward.  The sister missionaries got mad at us because we had to leave “early”, this was after spending 3 HOURS helping them.  As we talked, we also started to get the idea that the sisters are suffering with their numbers because they are spending a lot of time making food and eating dinner with a lot of people.

Miracle #500: I found all of the tools I will need to fix my bike.

         That’s right, my bike broke again.  This time I guess that I pedaled too hard with my superman legs and twisted the pedal arm, breaking or cracking the metal.  (karma)  The other funny part of the day was when I was biking along while making sure I stayed close to the sidewalk.  As I was riding along super fast down this little hill, a woman stepped into the street right in front of me without looking up. I slammed into her HARD.  She knew that it was her fault and didn’t even get mad at me.


December 12, 2015

         Well today was a decent p-day.  As a district, we went to Estascion Central to buy some souvenirs and stuff. I bought some cool nativities and a fardo of ties. About a year ago, I bought a fardo with my trainer and this year I decided to do the same. It was a pretty fun excursion, but 12 people are too many to go shopping with.  After buying all that stuff, I had to go on divisions with Elder Flores and that wasn’t very fun. I promised him I would do it if he was obedient so that he could say goodbye to a few people. 
Miracle #487: As we were biking past a park, I saw a slack line for the first time in well over a year, o even though we were  a little late, I had to stop and give it a go. It was a great part of my day.
          The funny part of the day was when all of our plans for today fell through.  We literally had 4 divisions and 3 lessons planned, but every single one fell through.  It was ridiculous.  I am really excited because tomorrow we are going on another division and I get to leave the sector.  I hope it will be a day where I don’t have to worry too much about the planning part.  The mission is exhausting.
December 10, 2015

         Today we had divisions with the zone leaders which was quite fun.  We had a super busy day with a lot of lessons.  I was with Elder Hermosilla who is a really funny Chilean who is about to finish his mission.  We had a great time.  It was pretty weird walking all day.  I felt so slow, but it gave us a long time to talk so we got to know each other pretty well.  I had a bad day of eating junk food.  I have decided that I am just going to relax on my healthy diet for the rest of the holidays because everyone here give you so much junk.

Miracle 488: today we were guided by the spirit to find someone who desperately needed us to pass by.  It was a very good experience.  I need to trust more in the spirit.

         The funny part of the day was a little hard to recognize. I have always liked getting to know new people and today was no exception.  Elder H. gave me a lot of good suggestions not just for my companionship, but also for my mission.  I have some things to work on and I am determined to work on them so that I can be a better missionary and disciple of Christ.

December 11,2015

         Today was pretty good.  This morning w had to go to the bike shop because my companion’s tire broke open and the tube exploded.  It was kind of funny because he bought a bright red tire so it looks weird.  After that headache, we went to a little shop where we prepared a gift for the gift exchange.  We came up with the idea of printing artwork of Jesus Christ on magnetic photo paper so it will stick to the fridge.  We also superimposed our mission logo on the image to personalize it.  It is going to be a fantastic and unique missionary gift. 

Miracle #489: Even though a ton of our citas fell through, we were busy all day long and set up a ton of new lessons.

         The funniest part of the day was when two of my better friends in the zone called us tonight.  When I answered, the immediately started singing, “As Sisters in Zion.” As soon as they finished singing the song, they hung up.  That definitely made my day. The other funny part of our day today was being exhausted the whole darn day.  I am pretty sure that the sun is sapping away my energy and at night sometimes I don’t have enough energy to stay awake after planning and I have to crash early.

 December 12, 2015

         Today I learned a good deal.  This morning we had a zone service in an old folks home.  We sang Christmas songs which was pretty entertaining because a few others and I were trying to harmonize in parts, but the whole group of missionaries were so bad at holding the same key that we couldn’t sing parts.  In every single song, the group unintentionally changed keys like 4 times.  After the service and lunch, we went to the chapel to do a little computer work and also practice piano.  Last week I was asked to improvise a verse of “Oh Come All Ye Faithful”, but I suck at improve so I spent about an hour today writing a little arrangement. We didn’t work until a little bit late, but I think it was a necessary use of time.

Miracle #490: Even though we didn’t have any divisions  set up for today, we managed to do a double division where we actually separated and visited 2 people at the same time.

         The funny part of the day was visiting a super bitter and prideful blind less-active member.  It was pretty annoying because he just didn’t understand anything that we were trying to teach. The funniest part of the day was when we got to his house, it looked like no one was home because the lights were all off and the windows were closed.  When I told the member that I was with that it didn’t look like he was home, the member said (in English), “Lights don’t help him Elder.”

December 13, 2015

         Today was pretty decent.  This morning we had quite a few investigators in church, but very few of our less active members.  We were both super happy and let down.  I didn’t fall asleep in church today!!! That should have been my miracle for today.  After church we had choir practice in the stake.  Really it is just one ward that is participating.  No one goes to the choir because the director is super mean.  She asked several of the missionaries to sing and asked me to play the piano.  As a favor, we go to the choir, but it is miserable because she treats everyone like imbeciles. She yelled at us and made fun of us until I couldn’t take it anymore and I told her, “I have never enjoyed music less in my life than I do right now.  You are more worried about the notes than you are about the music.  Music, especially Christmas music is about feelings.  You invited us here and now are treating us poorly because some of us don’t know how to read music.  That is a huge lack of respect and we don’t need to be treated like this.”  It may have been a little harsh, but it was all true and needed to be said.  The funniest part was that she got soooo mad at me that she kicked me out of the choir.

Miracle #491: There is a second choir where all of the people who want to have fun and go to sing for pleasure go, and I went over there to play for them.  It was a blast.

         The funny part of the day was probably when my bike tie popped and I had to switch out the tubes .  One of the members of the “mean choir” drove by while I was fixing it and yelled “KARMA!”  Yeah, it is sure karma that everyday something on my crappy bike breaks and I have to fix it. 

December 14, 2015

         Today was super fun division with Elder Anderson, the trainee of Elder Diaz.  It was a pretty good time getting to know him. We mostly walked and talked all day traveling from person to person and occasionally contacting. Before the division, we had a decent lesson with a less active member where I almost fell asleep, but DIDN’T!

Miracle #492: In a lesson that we had on the division, we were able to teach by the spirit and testify with power. 

         The funny part of the day was when Elder Anderson convinced me to eat a huge (?). It was so juicy and delicious. 

December 15, 2015

         BIRTHDAY EVE!  By far the best part of my day was getting and opening my birthday/Christmas package.  In the package I got very little food, which was a bit of a bummer until I realized that the gifts that I got were awesome! Mom sent me a super col little metal model kits of Star Wars and a cello.  I also got a crossword puzzle book and Insanity shirts.  The best part was getting a NEW PAIR OF SHOES!!  They are the same brand as my worn out ones but they look entirely different. 

      The missionary part of my day was a little rough because everything fell through.

Miracle #493: At the very end of the bad day, we were contacting and at the last minute we found someone who was prepared and wants to be taught.

         The funny part of the day was probably staying u admittedly way too late to put together my 3D model.  It was quite fun to do and I just couldn’t put it down.  Thanks family!