Sunday, April 24, 2016

April 2016 General Conference

March 30, 2016
     All in all it was a fun day today.  This morning Elder Bushman and I bought some breakfast burrito supplies for our district.  We want to the chapel 35 minutes early and when they got there, breakfast was all ready for them.  We got to know each other while eating.  there was only 1 companionship in our district that didn’t go.  After eating, most of us started playing soccer.  For the first time in many months I actually played.  I still and terrible at it, but at least I am in good enough shape now that I don’t get very tired.
Miracle #599: Even though our district activity was super last minute, it turned out to be really fun.
    The funny part of the day was playing soccer with 2 sister training leaders and 2 other companionships.  I was running up to try to steal/block the ball and one of the sisters kicked the ball really hard to presumably try to get it over my head, but instead drilled me hard right in the groin. She downed me pretty hard.  That was awkward. The work was alright today.  I am trying to bounce back from a week of no work at all.  It is pretty rough.
March 31, 2016
    Today was pretty chill.  This morning I trained with Elder B. again and afterwards we did our studies.  So far on my mission I have mostly been with missionaries who are newer in the mission than I am.  It is really nice to be with a missionary who already knows his job and who thinks and does things without being told.  Today it was a battle for me to stay awake after lunch when we did our weekly planning.  In the afternoon we had some pretty good lessons that were spirit led.  We have Brazilian investigators that are super hard to understand.  The don’t even attempt to speak Spanish and trying to understand Portuguese gives me a headache.
Miracle #600: For the first time in all of my time here, the Bishop accompanied us to a lesson.
    The funny part of the day was biking back from the boonies and both of us were just dead tired.  Elder B. was wrecked by the time we got home.  We had to do district calls tonight and that took our entire evening.  I am a big fan of the missionaries in our district.  They are pretty stellar!
April 1, 2016
    Today was pretty weird.  All of our plans went to crap, but it was a decent day.  This morning we helped the other district do a coercion, which is where a bunch of missionaries go together to contact someone’s sector.  We contacted in the sector of the sisters in our ward.  In an hour and a half, 2 people invited us to come in and share with them.  I am a little jealous because they were way cool people and we won’t be able to teach them.  Our lessons today were pretty good, but no matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t find a single member to visit with us.
Miracle #601: Everything turned out for the last lesson.  We were a little bit late, but the sister got home late so it all worked out. We never found a man to go to teach with us, but a male coworker ended up visiting her so things worked out in the end.
    The fun part of today was visiting with our investigator and going through the baptismal interview questions with him.  He is almost ready and it is really exciting.  We found out today that Elder H. finally got his VISA to go to the states and he will be leaving in May.
April 2, 2016
    Well today was exhausting.  We must have biked for almost 2 hours.  I decided to fast today.  This morning we went to visit V. in the hospital and we gave her a blessing and a spiritual message.  After that we had to bike super fast to get a few bike parts before racing to General Conference.  We were a little bit late, but it was okay.  For the first session, I was wiped out completely but managed to stay awake.  We then rode back to our sector, ate lunch super fast, and I started my fast.  Then we had to ride hard to make it to a lesson and then race to make it to conference in the afternoon.
Miracle #601: For the first time and for my last General Conference, we are actually teaching lessons during conference weekend.
    The priesthood session was the best session so far for me.  The first 4 talks were stellar, especially President Nelson’s talk.  Then I hit a wall and fell asleep in the second to last talk. 
April 3, 2017
    Today was fairly decent.  It was very difficult to stay awake in the conference sessions today.  I tried super hard and was pretty successful even though I was dying at the end of my fast.  My stomach was literally growling nonstop for the last 20 minutes of the morning session.  I am really glad that I made it though.  Today we ate lunch with a really challenging family who always mocks us relentlessly by making rude and cutting remarks.  It is hard, but I have learned to hold my tongue in their presence. After lunch, we spent about 30 minutes talking with a few missionaries from the zone, including some of our district.
Miracle #603: Four of our investigators came to the very last session of conference.  I was happy about that, but a little disappointed that more of our people didn’t go.
    The frustrating part of our day was when one of our investigators dropped us completely.  It is still a sad thing for me when that happens because I care about these people and I know that our message will bless their lives. My take home message from conference was that I want to learn to be more sensitive to the Spirit.  My mission has helped me to identify the strong impressions of the Spirit, but I am still having difficulty perceiving the gently promptings of the Holy Ghost. I am going to work harder to develop this ability.
April 4, 2016
    Well dang! I am grateful that I trained the kid that I trained!  Today I went on divisions with a newbie from Paraguay. It was a really hard day.  During lunch he started tearing apart his former bishop and was ridiculously bragging about his home country despite the fact that everyone present was openly taken aback and offended by his remarks. 
Miracle #604: I learned the importance of showing genuine love and interest while contacting. I am not sure why, but today I worked well with the people, and for at least 3 of the people that I contacted, it noticeably changed their attitude towards the church.
    The funny part of the day was 1) having to fix the sister’s bikes again, and 2) when my newbie comp fell asleep during the entire lesson, I did not disturb him and the lesson turned out to be excellent. Someone needs to correct him, but I will talk to the Zone Leaders and let them handle it.  Another funny part of the day was when this same comp had to go to the bathroom so badly that he peed right there in the street.  He needs a lot of help.
    My mission president called me today to ask me about  the encounter with the president from the Santiago East Mission.  He told me that it was brought to his attention and he was concerned that his missionaries weren’t treated well.  Actually he was pretty unhappy about it.  I told him not to worry about it because we just laughed it off.
April 5, 2016
    Today was frustrating for me. This morning was good because we bought a cake for one of our sisters, Hermana De Carvalho. It is her birthday tomorrow and she is super stressed out right now. She is fairly new, from Brazil, and is leading a difficult sector.  It is interesting to see how leaders sure try a lot harder to help a struggling sister than they do a struggling elder. When I wanted to go home, my zone leaders criticized me and tore me apart and my district leader could have cared less. Thankfully, my mission president reached out to me and helped me through that tough time.  I was glad to reach out to encourage and help another struggling missionary.
Miracle #605: I think that our whole district considers us to be their friends.
    The frustrating part of the day for me today was setting up the day to do double divisions with tons of members and then having half of the plans fall through.  It is hard for my companion to understand my frustration because he is too new in the area to know the sector, and the people, and still to new to do the work of setting up all of the appointments. 

Just eating some cow foot soup.. it was kinda weird and it had hairs on it... mmmm

Thursday, April 21, 2016

New Gringo Comp!

March 23, 2016
    Today we wen to the temple, which was really nice for me. I learned a lot of things in the temple based on spiritual impressions. I don’t honestly feel much better about everything, but that is my problem.  We were short on time today because of the temple trip, but it ended up being a decent work day despite the lack of time.  I set up a double division but on of the people fell through and we could only make one of the two visits.
Miracle #592: We finally were able to visit S. She has been having some tough week, but the lesson today was very good.
    The funny part of today was being with an investigator who was in a super good mood.  She has had some very hard weeks and has been depressed.  Changes come in just 3 days and I can’t decide if I want to stay or go.  I love the people here, but I am ready for a change.  What I really want is a companion who wants to work hard.  I have talked to my companion about how tired I am of making all the calls and doing the area book, he just says, “Well if it exhausts you, then just don’t do it.”  That is just the pervasive attitude here and that is the opposite of how I was raised.  You’ve just gotta do what you’ve gotta do. 
March 24, 2016
    Today was alright. This morning my comp got up late but just in time to be late to a lesson we had scheduled for 9:00.  After returning to the house, we had the normal daily routine and just talked.  This afternoon was almost a nightmare.  Elder H. got sick and had to lay down and sleep for hours on end.  I tried to make call to get a member to leave with me to teach while my comp stayed with the member we live with.
Miracle #593: For the last 3 hours of the day, I was able to teach with my favorite member, a Columbian named D.H.
    The funny part of the day was talking to this member about exercises.  He is really super fit and we visited a Brasilian who is also into fitness. It was a fun day despite getting stuck at home for most of it. 
March 25, 2016
    Today was SUPER boring.  My comp was sick all day long which meant that we were in the house all day long.  I read a ton and did at least 2 hours of exercise.  My comp wanted to try to work a little bit so we went to our lunch appointment with some less active and he just sat there like a zombie for over an hour.  We didn’t work for the rest of the day.  We played a few card games and anagrams.  It was the first time I have been able to convince someone to play anagrams with me and we played a bilingual version because Elder H. knows English.  Very Fun! I am getting along great with my companion these past few days…because I don’t have to try to get him to do any work.

Miracle 594: From our lunch appointment we taught an actual lesson today.
    This afternoon I got a call letting me know that I am going to be a district leader again. Tomorrow we will find out who stays and who goes officially, but based on what the President said to me today, I will be staying.   There really wasn’t anything funny that happened to me.  Being in the house all day, I started thinking about stuff and home kept popping not my head. 
March 26, 2016
    Well the house is probably cleaner that it has ever been since its construction, or at least since the missionaries started living here. I was in the house for the entire afternoon, but at least this morning I had a break when I went to a new leader meeting that lasted forever (thankfully). I spent hours reorganizing our house this afternoon.  I have officially been stuck in the house longer than at any other point in my mission and it is driving me crazy.  I killed it in Sudoku for way too long, I cleaned, I read A LOT, and I was really really bored. The good news is that the house is super clean for the new missionary. The bad news is that we won’t have much work to do for the first week because of this set back.
Miracle #595: President told me for sure that I am staying and he also told me who will be my comp.  My comp is going to be Elder Bushman, a super good football player from Arizona.
    It was pretty fun getting to know Elder Bushman because President also told him that he was going to be my comp.  I guess that he is horribly out of shape and wants to work out with me so that he will be ready to play football when he gets home.
March 27, 2106
    Well today was our last day together and it was another huge waste of time.  We didn’t teach a single lesson today, but we visited tons of people.  Even though I suggested that my comp share his parting testimony for people to remember him by as a last impression, he didn’t do it. We had a BBQ with the R. family for lunch today and I ate so much MEAT and it was wonderful.  By far, the best part of my day, or even my week!  After that we just went around saying goodbye to people that my companion wanted to say goodbye to.

 Miracle #596: Because of all the goodbyes, I was able to set up a lot of lessons for this coming week that I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.
    The funny part of the day today was talking about the Latin culture and their take on R rated movies.  The adult members of the church here do not follow the counsel of the prophet when it comes to watching R movies. I found that to be a little bit worrying because they teach the youth to only seek after good entertainment and then they show hypocrisy by watching inappropriate movies. 
March 28, 2016
    Changes were pretty interesting today. I think that Elder B is going to be a great companion.  It is really hard for me to speak in English now, but today I gave it a try so that I could speak to my family on Mother’s Day.  Elder Bushman is a football star from Tucson, Arizona and is going to play for BYU on a full ride scholarship.  He is very laid back, friendly, BIG guy.  I feel super small next to his 6’5” frame.  There were three repeating comments/questions that people asked us today: 1. Wow Elder you are really tall! 2. Elder Bushman, are you related to President Bush? 3. They must have sent you here to control Elder Colvin.

Miracle #597: We called our ward mission leader so that he could leave with us sometime this week and today turned out to be the only day this week that he could go out with us.
    The funny part of the day was when the ward mission leader’s mom asked us to give her a blessing and I told her that her son could do it if she liked.  She said that our priesthood was better than his…WHAT????  I am not sure why the people here genuinely believe that the missionaries have more priesthood or different priesthood than other members. 
March 29, 2016
    Today was pretty interesting.  We had to spend the entire day n the house because it is a day of protests here in Chile and there is a lot of violence in the streets.  So Elder B and I talked all day long.  We got t know each other pretty well.  Throughout the day we did a total of 3 hours of working out and it wrecked Elder B.  He is 100% willing to train with me and give it his all.  It is way more fun to actually exercise with someone else.  We are going to hurt tomorrow.
Miracle #598: I felt an immediate friendship with my comp, which is only the third comp on my mission that I felt that friendship with.  All three are gringos.
    The funny part of the day was learning at 9:30 tonight that tomorrow is a district p-day.  Really Zone Leaders, couldn’t you have told us this a little earlier?  You have got to just go with the flow.  We just found out today who is in our district and I am super excited because it is a great district!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

More of the same

March 16, 2016
    Today was pretty chill.  This morning I finished the Old Testament for the second time on my mission.  This marked the completion of my goal to read all of the approved missionary literature and canonic works twice each while on my mission.  After that, we had to go to meet up with our companions, but we decided to go on the bikes.  We crossed about half of our mission in a little over an 30 minutes and it was a blast.  The rest of the p-day was super relaxed.  Studies, sleep, exercise. We did get to try out a new internet cafe and it was a thousand time faster than what we are used to.  We are going there from now on.
Miracle #585: On our way to our meeting point, nothing happened to us.  We even passed 2 busses which were our other options for getting to the meeting.
    The funny part of the day was leaving with a member in our ward and hearing a ton of her stories about fiascos in the church in this area.  Other than that, I just made a ton of phone calls to set up stuff for this week.
March 17, 2016
    Today was a decent day.  We had a service in the morning that completely fell through.  When we got back to the house, I tuned up the bikes and we had a comp study.  During the comp study I tried to give some advice to my companion and he would not listen to a word I said. 
Miracle #586: While contacting this afternoon, we found 2 great people.  One was less active and one who might take missionary lessons.  In fact the one future investigator accepted the baptismal invitation in the contact.
    The funny part of the day was organizing our skit for the ward talent show. We are going to reenact a bunch of funny way that people reject missionaries.  Also I am not sure why I found it to be funny, but we were turning off all of the lights in the chapel and I turned off the girl’s bathroom lights without knowing that someone was still in there.  Hermana Silva gave a squeak that made me laugh. (of course I turned them right back on.)
March 18, 2016
    I’m so tired.  I don’t know why, but I had no energy today. This morning we did weekly planning, which is always not fun. I wish this change didn’t have an extra week in it.  Today we had lunch with my favorite grumpy Chilean.  She sent us home with food, so that turned out better than I thought it would. Usually she gives us very little food, but this time I got to eat my companion’s because he does not like fish.  After lunch, we had tons of time, so my comp wanted to take a 30 minute nap.  So I set the alarm for 30 minutes. At the 25 minute mark I thought that I would lay down for a few minutes too and then get up when he did.  Unfortunately, my comp turned off the alarm and slept for another 30 minutes.  I felt awful…never again!
Miracle #587: We found a man to leave with us to visit a family of all women with literally only one hour to go before the appointment.
    The funny part of the day was probably the crazy weather here. Yesterday it was around 50-60 degrees here and then this morning it was even colder.  But today, we were in the mid 80’s!  I have the hope that I will have more energy after finishing this dang training. 
March 19, 2016
    Today was one enormous waste of time.  This morning we had a rehearsal for the talent show tonight, but it was awful because other than my companion and I, no one else even tried to act.  It reminded me of working with scouts.  We ate lunch at home with overcooked noodles and sauce and then went to work.
Miracle #588:  Well shoot. Today just sucked. I guess that the activity turned out to be a success even if our skit was terrible.
    There were several funny parts of today all of them having to do with the talent show.  First of all it was scheduled to start at 6:00…so naturally it started at 7:15 (Chilean style). Almost all of the acts were hilariously simple and silly.  Honestly the activity made me a little bit trunk because it made me miss my gringo ward where lots of people show up on time and care about the activity.  I think that when I get home, even when an activity may be considered lame, I will go and support the ward.  

Random View of the Andes, and the pollution.
 March 20, 2016
    My companion is leading today, but he is done trying so that meant that we were extremely late getting out of all of our appointments.  I was too tired to care very much.  I have become more loving, kinder, and even more patient, and yet my companion hates me more and more every day. 
Miracle #589: The Rodriguez family invited us for a BBQ on Sunday the very last day of the change.
    The best part of the day was skipping Sunday School to visit a less active young man in the ward who every one picks on for some reason.  I felt a lot of spiritual impression as we shared with him and we had a very nice visit.  This is one of the few times that I have felt the gift of discernment while on my mission.
March 21, 2016
    Well today was another frustrating day.  The morning we were trying to figure out how to work better during this final week.  I started asking questions about why my comp doesn’t want to talk to me and eventually with a little coaxing, he told me, “Elder, i just don’t like you at all.”  Well I have to admit that really hurt me badly.  I decided to call the DLs and do an division today instead of tomorrow.
Miracle #590: We has a good work day with division and I was able to talk to some people.
    There were two funny parts of today.  One was when we were visiting a brand new person and her gate was so hard to close that she needed help closing it from the inside.  I had to help her close it from the inside and then jump the fence.  Everything was fine until my shoelace got caught on the fence as I jumped and I almost ate it.  The other funny part of the day was when a member of our ward refused to do contacts with us.  
March 22, 2016
    Today was another bad day.  We got back from divisions and my companion was late (he forgot that we had an appointment). We ate a quick lunch in the house which gave us time to talk.  Our DL suggested a companionship fast and trip to the temple.  After a little conversation, my companion went to the bathroom and I laid down for a minute because my stomach hurt.  I was asleep when he came back and instead of waking me up to go, he laid down in the other room without setting a timer.  Fortunately I woke up after a few minutes, but thought that he was still in the bathroom.  Long story short, we wasted over an hour while he slept in the other room.
Miracle #591: We got special permission to go to the temple tomorrow.
    There was really no fun part of today.