Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Ego Check

March 9, 2016
    I got really irritated at the Zone today because for the zone activity they decided to watch a move.  There was no bonding or talking or having fun as a zone, simple a stupid movie.  What a waste of 2 ours of my 8 hours a week of personal time.  It’s a total cop out of I-don’t-want-to-plan-anything activity and I had to go.  I ended up going late and one of the zone leaders got mad at me for being late to the movie.  It is hard to support such a lame waste of time. 
Miracle #578: S. revealed to us that she is not legally married, but she and her husband are talking about getting married so that she can be baptized.
    The funny part of the day was leaving with M.B. Every time he accompanies us to our citas, they fall through.  Today was no exception, but this time our plan C worked out.  It was entertaining to me to see how flustered it makes my companion to teach the law of chastity.  He talks around the point until in the end I have to teach the lesson. 
March 10, 2016
    I am ready to end this training.  I just am not good at it at all. My companion is still afraid to do many of the important missionary tasks that I am supposed to be teaching him.  I have intentionally started to not do a lot more things and that is making it more obvious to him of all the things that he is not doing.  The end result is that he is feeling more and more depressed.  I could do everything, but then he wouldn’t learn and that is the whole point of training.
Miracle #579: Elder J and I made up after our little discussion yesterday regarding the stupidity of watching a movie for our activity.
    The funny part of the day was definitely the service project with the zone leaders this morning. There was an extremely bitter aloe vera plant in the house where we were working.  While I was gathering a pile of weeds, I heard a choking and gagging sound and looked up to see Elder Johnson with a leaf of the plant in his hand.  The funniest part is that the bitter flavor doesn’t fade from your mouth for at least a half an hour.
    I am feeling really discouraged about how this training is going to end.  I feel like my companion is a very talented, eloquent, and charismatic person.  But, he is not assertive in any way.  People are going to stomp all over him in the mission and in his life if he doesn’t stand up for himself and tell people how he feels.  One thing that makes me worry about how well I am training him is that he thinks that leading a sector means being punctual.  Leading is being productive during every hour of every day, not just being on time.  I wish that I could just give him a what he needs.
March 11, 2016
    This morning was super rough for us.  We were absolutely not getting along and my companion was 100% shut down.  I got a little irritated because I needed some critiques from him on how to improve and work better, but he is not capable of giving or receiving constructive criticism.  This is an essential missionary skill. I tried talking to him but quickly realized that he wanted to be alone.  So I asked him how much time he needed and after telling me that he needed 30 minutes, he started reading.  I left him alone and cleaned the house.  Then 30 minutes later, he still wasn’t ready to talk so I finished the cleaning.  He continued to read in order to avoid me.  After a long lunch he spent 30 minutes in the bathroom to continue to avoid me.  Finally, I just sat him down and talked to him.  In the conversation I couldn’t take his passivity anymore and I could see that leading the sector was killing him, so I decided that we would bag the rest of the 12 week program where he is supposed to take over the leadership.
Miracle #580: We were on time for all of our lessons and we both felt a lot better. He is much happier to follow than to lead.

     The funny part of the day was physically training the young men as part of the mutual.  Even in just the warm up, they were all dying.  There was only one of the young men who could do the actual workout.  I promised the young men food for coming because the leaders told me that there would be some.  But the leaders forgot to bring treats.  I ended up buying something for the youth in order to fulfill my promise.
    Another funny part of the day was when a cute little kitten crawled all over my companion only to suddenly stop and squat on his tie, peeing on his tie. 

March 12, 2016
    Now that I am leading the sector again, we are doing a lot better as a companionship.  I guess that the companion couldn’t handle the pressure of leading the sector even though he is fully capable of doing it.  He thinks that he will be able to do it “when he is obligated to do it.”  He is much happier when I lead, but I think that I will still try to do every other day of leadership. 
    This morning we had the very last of the training meetings and President Cook taught about the 10 or so expectations they have for new missionaries and all but 1 of them were things that I have specifically focused on teaching to Elder H. 
Miracle #581: We had fun again in the work. We also had 2 contact lessons which have been very rare in the past week.
    The funny part of the day was when I tried to contact a cheese sell and she ran away.  The funny part was that I actually wanted to buy cheese, so we followed her and bought a kilo of delicious cheese.
March 13, 2016
    Today was decent.  It started out with a priesthood session for the stake at 8:00 am and then a special conference for all of Chile with President Nelson.  It was all done by satellite transmission.  The conference was short, but pretty good.  After having a few minutes of study at our house, we went to a lunch with this super weird and rude family.  We had to leave early from lunch to go teach a lesson which ends up being pretty good. We even set a baptismal date.
Miracle #582: D. R. invited s over to visit and we thought it was to give us food.  We didn’t need any food, but I felt like we should go anyway and as it turned out, she asked us to come over for support and help.  It is always a good feeling to see how listening to the spirit answers someone else’s prayer.
    The funny part of the day was trying to contact while working at a stand in the church’s women’s fair.  At one point, this very drunk man got beat up by a bunch of women.  It was also funny to see how much more successful the sister missionaries were at contacting.  The people literally run away from the elders, but they give their phone numbers to the sisters. People pay a lot more attention to the sisters in general.
March 14, 2016
    My companion stopped trying all together.  He is sick of me and he simple does not want to get along anymore so he just quit.  I am feeling a lot better with myself because I am striving to be a lot more patient and kind, especially when I have to correct him.  I don’t think that I have ever apologized as much as I have in the past 12 weeks in my entire life.  Today was all right, all thing considered.  We contacted a ton and found lots of people today but our lessons weren’t all that good. 
Miracle #583: Our ward mission leader went out with us and we had a contact lesson and a normal lesson.
    The funny part of the day was when I little annoyed with a lady who runs the drug addiction recovery program.  (Okay, it wasn’t all that funny, but it is all I have for today. )  Anyways, she was talking about how the people need to desire to leave drugs in order to be able to help them.  I compared it to the gospel in that we offer the people a better life, but if they don’t want it, they will never get it.  She said, “well I don’t agree with you there.  You don’t know what people need, maybe they don’t need to get off of drugs.”  What?  That just seems crazy to me.
March 15, 2016
    Today was really good for me.  In the morning we had a zone conference, after which we did a special division with the assistants (by suggestion of the president.) I had a lot of fun with Elder Rosero, a Colombian who is about to finish his mission.  He is a little hyper, but a good teacher and I learned just how fearless one can and should be when teaching the gospel.  Despite the shortness of the day (just four hours of work), we had 4 lessons so that was really a good day.
Miracle #584: For the first time in a long time, someone really ripped into me and gave me a good, yet hurtful, critique.  He called me out on a lot of my issues, but in the end I felt good because I need to know how I can improve.  He definitely kicked the chair out from under me.
    There was nothing particularly fun about the day. It was an ego check day for sure.  There was no corrections to my actions (because I am trying my best and doing what I should.) There is just always a better way, or different way to do things.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Summer Cold Blues

March 2, 2106
    Today was a pretty productive p-day.  In the morning we decided not to go to the district activity and it turned out to be a good decision because Hermano Diaz came to fix our house.  it w hadn't been here we would not have had the place fixed up. I bought all f y food for the month except for my weekly fruit, so that was worthwhile.  I got in a killer 2 hour workout that destroyed me.  While Hermano Diaz was fixing our house, we has talking about how awful it would be when I got home and how nothing that I have planned would work out.  It was pretty entertaining. 

Miracle # 571: While teaching one of our young men, w got to know one of his friends who is interested in the gospel.
    The funny part of the day was probably at home in the evening when we put on some white noise to go to sleep to.  The waterfalls started and after about 5 minutes of that I had to get up to go pee.  We were laughing for a long time about that.  President told me to make sure that I ended up making friends with my companion in the end of our time together.  I consider him to be my friend, but I am not sure if he considers me to be his friend.  Right now we are having a lot of fun together, but we are not working very hard.  Tomorrow will be a waste of a day because I have to renew my visa for the second time.
March 3, 2106
    Today was a NIGHTMARE!  First, I woke up feeling sick with congestion and body aches.  Yesterday the zone leaders didn’t get me my visa package because they were having emergency transfers.  Elder Groen is going to be zone leader with Elder Corbo.  The ZL’s having to have special changes is very unusual, but the bottom line is that they didn’t get my package to me until this morning. It took almost 5 hours to get the visa stuff taken care of. 
Miracle #572: I was the first one done of the group of missionaries who were working on their visas. 
    There were several very funny parts of the day today.  The first was seeing the mission president from Santiago East mission.  We all hated him immediately.  He treated us and our mission with open disdain.  For example, he asked me a question to which I responded “Si-po” (a typical slang Chilean expression).  His response was complete disapproval and he openly voiced his disgust.  “Oh, so that is how your talk in Santiago South Mission?” The other funny part of the day was talking to a group of gringo exchange students for 2 reasons.  1. It was very strange to hear English swear words. 2. I realized that I can’t talk to anyone without turning the conversation to the gospel.  The last funny part of the day was when a woman stopped bus on the street today.  She yelled at us for an incident that happened with her kid and my companion about 2 weeks ago.  The little kid was playing in the street with his little bike and he rode right in font of my companion.  He didn’t fall down or appear hurt so we just kept going  Anyway, this lady was super mad at us and said, “You have to be careful of the kids.  The street is made for them to play in.”  Really, seriously, how can you reason with that.
March 4, 2016
    It really is hard to have a cold in the summer.  It is sucking all of my energy and excitement.  Other than that, today was pretty good.  This morning was unproductive, but we had fun anyway.  We did all of our studies, we just didn’t do them efficiently.  this morning my companion told me something really funny.  When he was younger, his friend asked I'm what kind of trainer he wanted in his mission and he told him that he wanted a strict, militar-esque gringo.  I guess he got what he asked for.  Our work day was interesting for sure.  Despite being late for lunch, it still wasn’t ready.  The sister missionaries were playing board games while they waited.  It was hard to muster up the energy to contact today, but we did it and found a really good person to teach.
Miracle #573: We got several youth to go to the mutual activity with us.  We almost doubled the attendance.
    The funny part of the day was probably getting to mutual, which is supposed to start at 8:00, at about 8:20 and being the first ones there.  We were supposed to give the spiritual message. Halfway through the class, we realized that the marker that I had been given to use on the board was NOT a dry erase marker, it was permanent!  The good news is that my handwriting was very neat.
March 5, 2016
    Today was pretty great.  This morning we got a call from the sisters who were having bike problems.  Last night we had to fix their tires and this morning they wanted to put more air in their tires so they went to fill them and accidentally let all of the air out.  They have presto valves and couldn’t figure out how to change the head on their pump.  GAH!!! After helping them, we went to contact in a feria an it was awful.  We went to lunch where I drank 3 liters o water and studied and then fixed our own bikes.
Miracle #574: A member went to visit S. with us and they became friends.  S. talked about how excited she was to be baptized on the 20th. 
    The fun part of the day today was going on our bicycle journey with a youth for our ward.  I don’t know how he did it, but he kept up with s extremely well.  The hilarious part of they day was after lunch when we got a giant bowl of ice cream for dessert.    I can’t turn down a treat when it is handed to me, but for some reason the family was out of the room for a minute which gave me the opportunity to dump my ice cream into the bowls of the other missionaries.  We all thought it was funny that the family had no idea what was going on.
March 6, 2016
    Well today was rough for me internally, but I didn't let that negatively affect our companionship.  The first internal conflict was when my comp. played down after lunch to take a nap.  At the time I didn’t know why (apparently he had a headache.)  I just let him rest and I did my personal studies in which I finished The Book of Mormon for the 5th time on my mission.  In the end of the day, I found out that my efforts to teach my companion to have a good work ethic haven’t been wasted, because he confessed to me the he felt awful for sleeping so long. I had another internal conflict when I had to refrain from taking control of a bad contacting situation so that my companion could gain some experience.
Miracle #575: Two of our investigators went to church today.
    The funny part of the day was the lunch that we were served.  It was fast Sunday and we were starving when we went to lunch.  Unfortunately we were served 2 hotdogs and a half of an avocado…not very filling.  
March 7, 2016
    Today was the first day of week 11 in a 12 week training program.  The new missionary is supposed to lead the sector during week 11.  Honestly, my companion has been practically leading the sector for the past week, but officially leading the sector just freaks him out.  Today he just kind fell short of everything because of feeling pressure to perform.  I just tried to be positive and do whatever he wanted to do.  I did wake up angry though because last night my companion turned the volume  off on my alarm so I woke up late, meaning I couldn’t work out this morning.  I moved on and got over it and got caught up before it was time to go to lunch.
Miracle #576: We were able to eat lunch with the bishop which means that we talked about how we can help the ward and we got some homework from the bishop which we did tonight.
    There were a couple of funny parts of the day. One was while we were contacting this evening.  One lady answered the door smiling and super happy, but based on her reaction to us, you would have thought that we were death eaters from Harry Potter. It was as if we sucked all the happiness out f her world.  I found it entertaining.  The other funny part of the day was making “baked apples” tonight.  At home we make a lot of baked fruit desserts and I love them!  I gave some to my companion and he thought that it was so gross that he spit it out. 
March 8, 2016
    Today was surprising.  This morning after zone meeting, we had divisions with the zone leaders were I got to work with the brand new zone leader who arrived here a few days ago on special changes.  I really liked spending the day with him.  I do to lead the sector how I wanted and we ended up contacting a lot.  The day turned out alright, but the people we talked to weren’t very interested.  We ended up just talking a lot of the day and it was interesting because he told me some interesting stuff that made me feel better about myself.
Miracle #577: We had a division with a young man and our less fell though so we contacted. It was the first time the young man ever contacted and it resulted in a lesson!
    The funny part of the day was probably my reaction to finding out that the mission is changing the way we report for statistics.  It just got a LOT more annoying which initially ticked me off, but now I am totally fine with it because I realize that it really won’t change how I work.  It is just one more bit of busy work to do.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Elder Bednar: Prayer, revelation, hard work.

When your name-tag wears out and you are a tan as the locals, your time is short.
February 24, 2016
    Today was an interesting p-day.  It started with a capacitation (training) from Elder Bednar. It was for most of South America Spanish speaking missions.  Supposedly it was only going to last until 11:00, but it went until 12:30 and cut a huge chunk out of p-day.  It’s all good, because we just did our buys and chilled in the house.  I got to finish Alma and work out which was nice.  Afterwards, I had the chance to apply what we learned in the capacitation.  There were 3 things that really stuck out to me: 1. Write down only spiritual impressions and what you are going to do about them when you are taking notes.  2. Don’t ever play “guess what I am thinking” when asking questions to your investigators, meaning don’t expect specific answers because it doesn’t bring the spirit.  3. Pray and then get to WORK to receive power.
Miracle #564: I did my first real handstand pushup today.  I have been working on it for 3 months.

    The funny part of the day was when Elder Bednar was explaining the differences between how men and women look at challenges and talents.  He said that men have a tendency to do 10 things, fail at 9 of them, and focus on the 1 thing that they do well and say “I’m the man.” Women on the other hand, do 9 things well, get a B+ on the 10th thing, and then they beat themselves up over it.  I am so glad that my mom taught me how to think like Bednar’s idea of a woman!
February 25, 2016
    Today was a way good day, but we did a CRAPPY job of managing our time.  Getting out of the house late for a start, then with each appointment we got out late pushing each appointment later and later.  My companion was in charge of the time so I was not able to push him or correct him.  It is irritating to me and puts me in a bad mood.
Miracle #565: We managed to get 2 members to accompany us today and 1 of them hit it off super well with our investigator’s S. We found Sandra a friend.
    The funny part of the day was in a family history training seminar.  One of the Elders in the zone (Elder Brown) got on the website and started looking at his family tree.  After many minutes of looking, we all were shocked to see that he is a descendent of Mary.  Yes, that Mary, the Blessed Mother of Jesus.  Then they traced his line all the way back to Adam.  All the missionaries were freaking out.

February 26, 2016
    Today wasn’t a good day.  This morning the zone leaders came over to have breakfast with us.  I assumed that they wanted to talk with us about our work and give us some suggestions and advice.  I assumed wrong.  The ZL’s let me down and we ended up basically just wasting over a hour talking about nothing.  GAH!  The leaders in this zone are incredibly lazy and it irritates me especially because they set the example for my trainee.  I think this is part of the reason why he thinks that I am an uptight missionary.  After our pointless morning, we had lunch and did companionship inventory.
Miracle #566: We got 2 extremely last minute divisions today and a few members just kind of volunteered themselves.
    The fun part of the day was turning on some Christmas music tonight . The interesting part of the day happened when we were making calls.  A dog fight of sorts broke out in the street.  It wasn’t much of a fight because a huge bulldog looking street dog attacked someone’s little toy dog and gave it a death shake.  I was shocked and just stared at first, then coming to myself, I dropped my bike and sprinted over to help the poor victim.  The big dog released the little dog when I got close, but quickly pounced again which gave me the opportunity to plant a decent kick in his ribs.  No one else did a thing and everyone was caught off guard by the missionary rescuing the little dog.
February 27, 2016
    Today turned out to be a good day.  We once again had a very busy morning, which prevented morning studies.  That meant that we had to study after lunch despite the exhaustion that typically sets in after eating a big meal.  We did our weekly planning and had a good brainstorming session where we figured out some plans of action to solve our relationship issues.  This afternoon, we worked quite a bit better than normal even though it wasn’t the most efficient or urgent.  Other than that, today was a rather uneventful day.
Miracle #567: Today we were able to find several people who are notoriously had to find and we were able to either set up appointments or remove them from our list. 
    The funny part of the day was in our missionary correlation meeting when our super dysfunctional ward leader was reprimanded by one of the sister missionaries.  She basically just told him that he should read Preach My Gospel. It wasn’t that funny, but it was the only thing that was interesting.  I think that the stress of “not working hard” during the last few weeks is really getting to me.  I have been ridiculously exhausted.  Next week I am going to get back to my early morning scheduled so that I can get more done before 11:30.
February 28, 2016
    Today was a day.  A typical Chilean Sunday when none of the people we teach came to church.  Sadly, after promises from more than 10 people, only 3 people showed up to church. We did actually have a ward council that was productive.  The work today was very inefficient. We passed by a few people and afterwards we had an eternal family home evening.  Although it was very fun, I felt pretty bad spending so much time messing around.  This week we decided that we’re going to focus on the Sabbath day observance with all of our families that we are teaching.
Miracle #568: While looking for a less active member, we found one of our investigators and were able to encourage him.
    The funny part of the day was playing a game where you had to figure out a certain pattern.  It was based on music and I figured out that in the beginning, but t took me forever to see it because it was based on the syllables of the musical scale here in Chile.  In English, we use cdefgab as our scale but here they use Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Si, Do.  I am not used to this system so it didn’t occur to me for a very long time.  To make it even harder, they use Si instead of Ti. 
February 29, 2016
    We had a decent day today.  This morning we did morning contacts and painting service projects.  Well, I painted anyways.  Once again we were so busy all morning that we had to put off our studies until after lunch.  When we finished our studying, we went to R., one of our investigators.  He is getting very interested in our lessons and in the importance of baptism.  The rest of our appointments failed which meant that we had time to do contacting.  That made me very happy.
Miracle #569: We need a man in order to be able to go visit the R. family.  Finally we found a man who could go with us an it was a miracle because usually he was super busy.
March 1, 2016
    Today was pretty stressful.  We were rushing around all day long going to far off lessons.  This morning we had our district meeting and immediately afterwards a lesson with a young man who we are starting to teach.  That lesson went rather well.  After eating lunch with the bishop, we had a sleepy study session and got out to work.  We were rushed all day long trying to get to all of our lessons because supposedly our day was packed.  The most frustrating thing that happened was biking out literally 9+ km to get to a cita just to find out that there were home, so we turned around and went back. In short distances my comp keeps up but he can’t do long distances. 
Miracle #570: We visited S. even though we didn’t have an appointment and she let us share with her and the member who was with us.
    The funny part of the day was probably teaching a teen-aged girl who we can’t really recognize if her interest is in us (missionaries) or in the message.  The good thing is that she at least understands our message.  The bummer part of the day was finding out that our great investigator, L. is going to be joining the military and will be leaving Santiago in a month.

One man's treatment is another man's torture.

My companion loves his new water bottle!
February 17, 2016
    Today was another irritating p-day.  Once again I spent  a good portions of a p-day fixing my companions bike.  I am so sick of that dumb road bike!  Moving on, I was able to do a lot of personal studies which was much needed and enjoyed. I got to have a good conversation with my family via email and had a rough session of insanity (it followed a very spicy lunch!) We finished our p-day early in order to go and visit some less active members which turned out really well.
Miracle #557: S., our new investigator felt the spirit during our lesson despite it being a pretty awful lesson. 
    The funny part of the day was realizing just how much time we waste waiting for my comp to finish eating.  But he is a skinny guy who needs more calories than I do, so I just need to be patient.  The other funny part of the day was while we were standing outside a member’s house, who was supposedly going to accompany us, we called and called but no one ever answered the door.  We knew they were home, but they stood us up and we ended up do the appointments alone.
February 18, 2016
    Well today was a little humbling in a good way.  This morning we did our routine and weekly planning in which I realized just how much this sector has picked up lately.  After all that and lunch, we had interviews with the president.  I learned just how bad my companion is feeling and is doing. I guess that he is miserable and apparently it is mostly my fault.  I was surprised to hear just how bad he seems to be, but President and I talked about it and he gave me a blessing so that I could be a nicer trainer. (Those are my words for it.)  We came to the conclusion that I need to let my companion set the pace even if it means slowing way down.
Miracle #558: I really feel the love and support of President Cook in all of this.  He is a great president and I love him.
    The funny part of the day might have been part of the interview where we talked briefly about the different cultural approaches to missionary work.  The other funny part of the day was teaching our very cute investigator and watching my companion get completely flustered even though it was a simple lesson on prayer.
February 19, 2016
    Today was a fun day of divisions with a really quiet Elder Jenks.  We had a lot of fun together, but that came after a relaxed morning where we had companion inventory and I just listened to all of the complaints that Elder H. has about me.  I really thing that president’s blessing helped me out because I remained calm.  I hope that it stays that way.  My internal monologue often sounds like this, “it doesn’t bother me (but it really does bother me), but it shouldn’t bother me, (but it really does). Who cares about this, just relax, breathe deeply.” The last part is new since yesterday. 
Miracle #559: We contacted most of the day in a hard sector and found 3 great people to teach. 
    There were 2 funny parts of the day.  The first was when my companion’s front tire popped.  Instead of getting frustrated, I just fixed it without complaint.  The other part of the day was being on our feet for literally 6 hours nonstop without sitting down.  My feet have gone soft on me since being in the biking sector.  I also ran into a family from my first sector who moved into the ward that I was visiting today.  Overall, this day was fun for me.

February 20, 2106
     Today was a big let down.  this morning was pretty normal for a division.  We did a service at 11:00, then planning meeting, then finished up the division after lunch.  When we got back from the service, we had to shower so I hopped in first and was ready to go in 15 minutes.  The other 3 Elders in the house took almost 2 hours to get ready.  Whatever, it is not my sector.  After a super late lunch, we went to meet up with my companion and our district leader.  As we met up and started talking about how things went, it soon became evident to me that our DL hadn’t been the best example.  They stayed up way too late at night and then didn’t do ANY work at all until 5:00 p.m.  when we met up .  They just “talked and studied.” 
Miracle #560:  I didn’t get irritated as I heard all of the dumb division stuff.  Laziness usually really bothers me.
    The funny part of the day was when Elder Rubio, who is one of the elders in the other sector, and I started taking about mission stuff.  He was complimentary to me about my Spanish skills and told me that I was one of only 2 gringos he has met who speaks as well as I do.  I also heard some pretty sketchy stories about some super disobedient missionaries who have passed through here.
February 21, 2016
    Man, I am at a loss for what to do with my companion, whom I am supposed to be “training” to be a good missionary.  I am  trying to take things easy an go at his pace, but that has meant that our work has been really crappy and our urgency has stalled out. So in order to destress him, I am getting stressed out because we are not working well.  President asked me to call him every few days to talk a little, so I called him for advice tonight.  He told me that sometimes you need to overcompensate in order to find a balance.  He also told me that I have the right to revelation for my responsibility and urged me to look for it.  Receiving revelation is hard.
Miracle #561: S. went to church today and I didn’t have to call and remind her.
    The funny part of the day was teaching the interesting people who came through our chapel open house today.  The bishop asked us to teach the lesson on baptism and he lent me his pants to wear.  He didn’t think that I would fit into them, because he is much shorter than I am.  What he didn't realize is that I have very short little legs and a long torso.  The fit was perfect!

    I am really not having fun with the missionary work right now.  I am not desperate, but I am not happy not working as hard as I know that I should and can.
February 22, 2016
    Well today was slightly better than the past few days.  It all started off with a typical painting service project with a member in our ward.  We helped him out for about 3 hours an had a decent time chatting between the three of us.  After the service, they gave us a really tasty lunch (which saved us from a lunch that we were going to have to eat outside.)  Needing to study, we went back to the house and did an abbreviated study time that was mostly filled with talking about my concern for the work that we did (or didn’t do) last week.  We are going to have to work harder that we have been.

Miracle #562: Our district leader called before bedtime!  He usually calls us much later (around 11:30 when we are supposed to be asleep.)
    The funny part of the day was when we had our lesson with S.  We asked her if she had been reading The Book of Mormon.  She responded, “very little, I have only made it to the end of 2 Nephi.” (in 4 days!!!)  It is so great to have someone like her to teach.  The other funny part of the day was a family home evening that we had with the R. family.  We did a theatrical re-enactment of the parable of the debtors.  The lesson was fun but also spiritual and we ended with a fun game.  Singing is alway a trip with Chileans, who generally struggle with holding a tune.
February 23, 2016
    Today was a very good day in that I felt that I was helped by the spirit to know how to handle the unfavorable circumstances that arose a we worked.  We did not work a efficiently a we should/could have but instead of getting irritated with my companion, I just asked him about his goal to spend less time in lessons and how I could help him with that. After planning, I just talked to my comp about nonsense and things that don’t matter.  Usually I hate talking about those things, but I felt like it would help our relationship.
Miracle #563:  One of our investigators opened up to us about why she is having a hard time living the law of chastity.  The last time that she lived alone, she entered into a profound depression an she is afraid of that happening to her again.  She expressed many concerns that I previously didn’t know.  I am grateful for that so that we might now be able to help her.
    The funny part of the day was when my comparing was throwing a ball to a god and it bounced off of something on the ground and went over a fence.  He had to climb the fence and fetch the ball, but the funny part was finding out that he had a huge fear of heights with his feet just 2 feet off the ground. Today he overcame that fear. 

Typical Week - 1.5 year mark

February 10, 2016
    Today was a relaxing p-day.  We did our buys, ate our lunch, wrote our families, and relaxed.  I took a little nap and then worked out for 2 hours.  My legs are dead, but I enjoyed the p-day overall.  The only frustrating part of the day for me was asking my comp to think about what needed to be done in order to work efficiently today and tomorrow.  He didn’t come up with anything.  So I just went ahead and made all the calls that we needed to in order to have our  divisions ready to go.
Miracle #550: We found a lot of people while contacting today.  2 of them didn’t want anything at first, but the listened and accepted an appointment to come back.
    The funny part of the day was when my comp tried to outride me.  He was succeeding for a while (which made me super happy.)  Then I realized that I was only on gear 2 up front.  I shifted up and kicked it.  We raced for a little while and it is hard for me to keep up with him on my mountain bike.  I love having to kill myself to keep up. It’s fun.
February 11, 2016
    Today was really frustrating.  The good part of the day was working for 10 hours straight. We left at noon after eating an early lunch and didn’t get home until 10 pm.  I have really missed getting out of the house early to work more.  We had tons of lessons planned for today and mot of them actually worked out.  The frustrating part of the day was that my companion threw our plans out the window during our lessons.  Most of the stuff that he talked about was so irrelevant that the  spirit could not be present. 
Miracle #551: We had really good lesson with some new people we started visiting.  They are a less active family and they agreed to come back to church.
    The funny part of the day was trying to teach my companion that numbers are not that important and really don’t matter.  We just need to work hard and try our best.  He is really hung up on numbers and quotas. I told him that we just need to work with all of our heart and mind dedicated to serving the Lord and the people.  If we truly understood missionary work and did it, then we wouldn’t need key indicators at all.  The problem is, missionary work is hard to understand, while quotas are easy to understand. 
February 12, 2016
    Today was a bad day for me.  I was off most of the day and then most of our plans fell through and for a change, I wasn’t excited about contacting.  I am not sure why.  Training is hard. We managed to contact a lot despite my lack of enthusiasm, we did a spontaneous service project, and we even got a reference.
Miracle #552: We are going to get our house fixed up this next Monday and it will be a lot better.
    The funny part of the day was when this old lady offered us some fried sopapillas things and refused to believe me when I told her that I was on a diet.  I managed to escape by getting my companion to eat mine too.
February 13, 2016
     Today was a LONG day.  This morning we went out 10 km on our bikes with 4 other elders to do a service for some less active members.  Basically we weeded and moved around several hundred pounds of wood.  It was kind of pointless but the people we were serving were happy about it. 

     After the service, the Perez family came from Captan Avalos to leave me some food and herbal mate.  Then came the lunch.  We had lunch with one of our favorite families (Barrera) and it never ended.  I tried to drop hints to my comp that we needed to go, but he didn’t pick up on them.  He knew that we had appointments, but he just sat there for TWO hours.  Finally I just couldn’t wait anymore for him to close and I excused us.
Miracle #553: We had a really interesting lesson with a future investigator who is interested in our message and who actually read the pamphlet that we gave her.
    The fun part of the day was this evening when I wrecked my diet by celebrating my year and a half mark.  Tradition required me to burn a pair of pants, which turned out to be really noxious.  We ate cookies, caramel popcorn, mini donuts, and more.  It was a fun night to be honest. 

    The lame part of the day was having a talk with my companion after lunch about how he behaved during lunch.  I am just not cut out for this parenting thing.  In the end, we just went out to work and the dust settled.
February 14, 2016
    Today was a really good Sunday.  This morning there wasn’t any ward council meeting, but they forgot to tell us so we were there at 8:00 a.m.  No one got to church until 9:00 and our church started at 10:00, so I read a fair amount of the Old Testament.  In church we had a lot of people show up, which was a nice surprise.  After church we went to lunch with a nightmare family.  Okay, only the daughters are a nightmare, but they are so obnoxious that we suffered a bit.  We also had to suffer through a soy meat lunch.  Work wasn’t the best, but, for once, my comp and I had a blast working together.
Miracle #554:  My companion finally lost his fear of contacting today.  We had a blast just contacting and preaching at the same time.  He had fun and now he is super excited to contact some more.
    The fun part of the day was definitely contacting.  We had some really stupid contacts like commenting on a dog and how it looked like a purebred dog (which of course I knew that it was.) Or another contact where we commented on the ivy on the fence that led to a conversation.  In the end we always tied the conversation back to the gospel and either took out a reference or had a good laugh out of it.  There was one lady, for example, who didn’t open her gate door because she didn’t want to talk to us.  But we put forth our best effort and when my companion finished the contact I was encouraging him by making funny faces out of eye-shot of the disinterested lady. 
February 15, 2016
    Today was super inefficient.  This morning we stayed in the house late waiting for the guy to come, and fix it.  He never came so we finally left to go to work until lunch time.  We went to lunch with a sister who didn’t understand that we could not eat inside the house if there was not another man present.  We had to eat outside, but we got to eat with her little son at least.  When we got there, the lunch wasn’t ready, so the lunch ended up lasting about almost 2 hours. 
Miracle #555:  Sandra, a great investigator, who we just found last week, accepted a baptismal date for March 20th.
    The funny part of the day was probably contacting with an ADHD youth in our ward who decided to tag along with us.  At first, it was a nightmare, but as we kept contacting, he started picking up on a few things and in the end he wasn’t too bad at it. 
The spiritual part of the day was sharing a Book of Mormon story with a group of youth in the ward and testifying of the converting power of the gospel.  It is a really good group of youth.  The other interesting part of the day was waking up with a giant blister from what I think must be a bug bite.  It freaked me out at first. 

February 16, 2016
    Today we didn’t have the spirit very strongly with us.  This morning someone came to our house to fix up a few things at 9:10 in the morning and interrupted our personal studies.  We helped him move around all of our kitchen appliances while he installed power sockets.  Long story short, I didn’t get my spiritual food for the day.  After the district meeting we discovered that my companion’s back tire was flat.  The tubes were so damaged that there was no hope of a full repair.  In about 10 minutes I managed to make it ride-able, though we did have to stop every 5 minutes to fill it.
    We made it through the rest of the day, but unfortunately did not have the company of the spirit and only at the end of the day did I realized that before going out to work we did not pray.  It made a noticeable difference in our work.  Our contacts were a flop because we had no unity.  We had 2 different opportunities to teach a contact lesson, but didn’t because our conversation wandered and wasn’t Christ centered.
Miracle #556: Tonight we were able to do splits with 2 members of the ward and visit 2 of our progressing families.  


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Hit again, still alive!

What happens when your leaders get a hold of your camera!
February 3, 2016
     Well today kind of sucked.   It started off by going to spend tons of money on my food for the month.  After that we went to a zone activity where everyone played volleyball except for me for 2 reasons: 1. I don’t really like playing team sports, and 2. My legs are ridiculously sore from a workout yesterday.  The worst part of the day was bringing an extra bike aback to the house by dragging it alongside me. At one point I looked behind me to see my companion and discovered that he wasn’t there.  I looked again and still couldn’t see him.  On the third look, the bike that I was dragging hit the bike that I was riding and I crashed HARD.  I immediately got super upset with my companion for not keeping up with me.  I was in pain and I yelled at him.  I mean, seriously my legs are so sore that I can barely walk, and I was riding a mountain bike, dragging another bike behind me, so I was barely moving forward and he still was not keeping up with me on his street bike.  It is such a source of frustration to me.

Giant bruise on my bad knee.
Miracle #543:  While we were waiting outside of a house for someone to get home, I felt prompted to contact a young couple nearby.  They were very kind and receptive towards us.
    The funny part of the day was when I let my companion ride ahead of me and he rode much faster.  At one point, I hung way back to let him know what it felt like to, all of a sudden, for no reason, not have your companion within site.  It freaked him out a bit and I think he now understands a little better how I feel.
February 4, 2016
    Today we ended up having division with Elder Diaz and Elder Anderson again.  Once again, I stayed in the sector, but this time I stayed with Elder Anderson.  My whole body hurt me from my crash yesterday.  Our lunch fell through so we were able to do our weekly planning after a quick bite to eat.  The divisions were way fun.  We out to the woods/fields in our sector and spent the whole day visiting and teaching out there.  Elder Anderson, despite only having 4 months in the mission, speaks/teaches/testifies really well!
Miracle #544: All of the plans we made for lessons worked out today, including the reference from the bishop to contact a less active.
    The fun part of the day was realizing that on one of the roads we ride there are literally millions of blackberries.  They are just starting to come into season, which is probably why I have never noticed them before.  We stopped for a few minute and picked berries while talking.  I have never done this on the mission before so it was a nice little break.  The only bad thing is that we had to ride over 30 kilometers, and when we got back, we were 100% wiped out. We could barely wit up, so we ended our day laying down.

February 5, 2016
    Today was really a good day.  After getting back from divisions my companion and I talked for a long time about the fact that as a personal friend, he does not trust me because I am so prone to irritation.  He, like all my other laid back companions, told me that I nee to control my temper.  I agree, but he does not seem to see how he has any role to play in what irritates me.  I suppose that the fact that he doesn’t understand me is just like the fact that I don’t understand why he can’t seem to do certain things that are hard for him, like contacting or riding a bike.  We agreed to try to be more understanding of one another.  Our work day was better after that.  I tried really hard to not give him any correction or even suggestions today. He does not do well with any sort of correction.  He felt a lot better at the end of the day. 
Miracle #545: I was prompted by the spirit to go to a less active member who we contacted before. She was there, but the miracle was that just this week, the missionaries who baptized her, also got in touch with her after years with no contact.  These two coincidences have inspired her to think and pray about the direction of her life.
    The funny part of the day was contacting after a lesson fell through.  After knocking on the door, a REALLY cute girl walked out.  (at least, I think she was cute, but I have missionary goggles on, which I am told are worse than beer goggles.)  It was my companion’s turn to contact, but as I looked at him he had a glazed over deer in the headlights look.  My inner missionary took over and I started the contact with the girl and her sister.  It ended up being a good lesson.
February 6, 2016
    So we had a good day today.  It started with a service at 9:15, but the service wasn’t really supposed to start until 10:00.  The zone leaders wanted everyone to get there by 10:00, which is why they announced an earlier hour.  We got there at 9:15 and waited.  I was irritated by that whole strategy, and then the service ended up being digging around 50 hole that were about 2 feet deep.  After just under an hour of working, 10 of the elders dropped off from work and were just watching 3 of us finish the digging.  The best part of this 3 hour project was the shockingly good lunch that they served us. 
Miracle #546: After weeks of telling my companion to do it, Elder Huaiquinir extended his first baptismal invitation and the guy accepted!
    We had a miracle division while trying to set up someone to visit a less active.  Nico Sepulveda, our Elder’s quorum president, just got back today from being a counselor in the Spanish version of EFY.  He was dog-tired, but agreed to go out with us and it was a good night of visits. 
February 7, 2016
    Today was a pretty decent Sunday despite being a Fast Sunday.  Usually attendance drops off during summertime, but today was an exception.  We had several investigators and less active members come today.  A lot of our members were gone on vacation today, including the bishop.  This makes it hard to get members to accompany us.  Today we did some interesting contacts where drunk guys harassed us for about 20 minutes.
Miracle #547: Alvaro, the son of one of our less active members, was able to join a huge youth camping trip at the very last minute.  Also, V. is back home and we visited with her.
    There were a few funny parts of the day today like when I “pranked” Elder Martinez about V.  I never let him know how sick she was so I called him and said, “Elder, I have some bad news, V. fell into a coma.” He understandably got really worried and then I told him that she was improving and was able to come home. 

      My companion and I have been getting along better this week since I completely stopped giving him any advice or criticism.  It is helping our relationship, but not our missionary work.  I think that for his health’s sake, I will just continue to keep it chill on the demands of missionary work.
February 8, 2016
    Today was interesting.  We had our district meeting where we found out that some of the zone will be transferred.  Elder Diaz is going, sadly.  I will really miss him.  We had been in the same zone for a long time!  After the district meeting, I got hit by another car.  I was riding normally and came to an intersection without a stop sign, but I slowed down out of caution (due to fear from being hit before.)  I didn’t see any cars as I entered the intersection, but then a car came flying through and I had to slammed on my brakes.  Unfortunately, due to the fact that I was carrying an ironing board on the back of my bike at the time, my back end came flying around and slammed me into the side of the car.  Everything would have been fine had my front tire not gotten stuck in the car’s wheel well. The tire is all messed up now, much worse than the time I got hit by the bus.

Miracle #548: After the accident, someone with a pickup truck stopped and gave us a ride back to our house.
    The funny part of this whole thing was when the driver stopped, he got out of his car, looked at us, then at his car and then just drove away without a word.  He didn’t even ask if I was okay.  As for the rest of the day, we had a good day of work and contacted a little on top of the lessons that we taught. We did have a fairly frustrating lesson about The Book of Mormon and the people not accepting the challenge to read it.
February 9, 2015
    Today was good, but a little bit frustrating for me.  We ate lunch with S. today and had a great lesson about temples.  Then our next planned lesson fell through and I let my companion choose what he thought we should do. He chose to visit people on the reference list.  I knew that it was way too early in the day for anyone to be home, and I also knew that our time would be better spent contacting, but I decided to not say anything and just do what he wanted to do.  This is what is so hard about being a trainer.  I need to let him choose, but I know that I am not helping him to grow by allowing him to avoid the things that he does not like doing.  His latest strategy is to pass by 20 people in the street to knock a door where he knows no one is home. 
Miracle #549: S. is going on vacation so we were worried about losing contact with her just when she is making progress.  But, the owner of the place where she is going is a member and he is going to help her to go to church while she is there.
    The funny part of the day was finding out when and why my companion rides so slowly.  He can easily keep up with me, but today, when I gave him a slight criticism before heading somewhere else, he immediately started riding slower.  The reason things have been so much better this week is that I have stopped correcting him and I took over leading the companionship again.  He hasn’t had to make many choices or take the initiative and I am not fixing any of the problems. We are not working well/efficiently, but at least we are working “happier.”