Sunday, July 31, 2016

Endure to the END

July 6, 2016
    Today was the last p-day where I had to do and activity that I didn’t want to do. We went to estacion central and I got one last souvenir for everyone.  Overall, I literally spent about 40 minutes doing my stuff. 
Miracle # 697: I. stopped working in his little store so he may now have more time to go to church.
    The funny part of the day was also very frustrating to me.  When we got to I. house, he was watching a movie and instead of helping me teach or ask to turn off the movie, he made me do it.  To be fair, I got sucked in a little bit before coming to my senses and getting to work. 
July 7, 2016
    Today was a pretty good day.  This morning we had a little breakfast and study with another missionary house and it was weird because everyone was looking up to me and my companion for how much time we have in the mission.  After that, my comp and I did our weekly planning and had just the usual swell time.  We didn’t argue too much so that’s good.  Most of our plans fell through, but there were a few tender mercies today.
Miracle #698: During our lesson that we had in our chapel, a member just randomly came in and we invited her to participate and then convinced her to go with us to the lesson afterwards.  First divs of the week.
    The funny part of the day was lunch at the bishop’s house.  It was one of those “you have to be there things”, but we were all laughing like crazy.  The bishop’s crazy RM son was laughing so hard that he began to cough and then vomit. 
July 8, 2016
    Today we had a meeting with all of the missionaries who are going home this next transfer and the goal of the meeting was to motivate us to keep working.  Unfortunately, when we got out of the meeting and back to work, we had a fairly crappy day overall. Most of our plans fell through and the ones that didn’t weren’t that good.
Miracle #699: We got baptismal clothes for M. and they actually fit!  Usually you have to frantically search at the last minute, but we were on top of it this time!
    The funny part of the day was probably setting up for the ward activity that the ward mission program is putting on tomorrow.  It was funny because they turned on the radio in the chapel and we all dancing around like crazy to some pretty vulgar techno crap. I was pretty bothered by it.
July 9, 2016
    Today was a long day.  This morning M. had his baptismal interview with Elder Dowdy and passed.  I really love that kid.  He is super spacey, but is a very sweet and genuine person. After the interview, we did a few things in the chapel and went to lunch.  We were supposed to go and make food for the ward activity at 3:30, but we waited for over an hour for someone to show up.  The family in charge of making sopapillas showed up a half and hour after that.  The activity was supposed to start at 5:00, but everyone got there at 6:00.  The activity was called Jacana Sudamericana and it was basically tons of food from a bunch of South American countries. Everyone just stuffed themselves and I got super sick from eating food that I am not used to eating. After the activity, we had to clean the chapel and the baptismal font for the baptism and for church tomorrow.  I was in a very bad mood going our to work this evening because I felt sick from over eating.  Elder A. was very patient and tried to help me out.
Miracle #700: Asplund was inspired to go to a certain house and when we got there, the guy that we were looking for wasn’t home, but his son was and his son was super interested in our message.
July 10, 2016
    Today was really long.  No one came to church except for a Haitian man we contacted in the streets during our consecration week.  We had a ward mission meeting even though our ward mission leader didn’t come, and we had a ward executive committee meeting as well.  After church we went looking for 6 people, none of whom were home.  After church we went to a small lunch and I was shocked by what the family was watching on TV.  I am not ready to return to that part of life.
Miracle #701: It was raining and we had not plans, but we went to a new investigators to get out of the rain.  They were home and let us in out of the rain. Also, Manuel got baptized today!


 The funny part of the day was when Elder Morales didn’t baptize Manuel correctly, but the bishop said it was fine so they didn’t redo it.  Elder Asplund suggested that they do it again, but they ignored him.  Oh well, the bishop is in charge I guess.  It has been a long time since I have had a baptism in my ward let alone my sector.  Even though it has been a decent week over all, Asplund and I are getting tired.
July 11, 2016
    Today was a long one despite being good.  This morning I was doing my exercises a little later than I should have when my companion made me feel guilty so I quit.  I hurried and got all ready to go on time, when the office called and told us that we had to stay in to receive a couch.  Ugh. After another in house lunch, we went to work with not much on our schedule.
Miracle #702: Despite not having any real lessons planned, we got a lot of lessons in with people that we have not seen in a very long time.
    The funny part of the day was lunch when my companion said he wasn’t hungry so I ate alone.  But when the other elders got home to eat, he was all of a sudden starving, so we spent another hour joking around and eating. The other funny part of the day was walking into a house with a Brazilian telenovela on.  Not gonna lie, the girls in that show were absolutely stunning.  I was a LOT a bit hypnotized.  It was funny because we were with an RM of less than a year and all three of us we just stunned by the women in that show.
July 12, 2016
    Great day today! This morning we had district meeting and I had divisions with Elder Crane.  For lunch we went to Aracely and ate with J.  He taught me quite a few native expression of Chile that I wish I hadn’t heard.  Today we just had lessons and members with us all day long. First, I got mixed up between two Byrons in our ward and called the wrong one to set up a division. It caused a rather amusing confusion which took a while to resolve.  After that, we had a few lessons wth Aracely and one was really incredible.
Miracle #703: We went to visit V., one of the contacts from our consecration week and had one of the best lessons of my entire mission.
    Instead of telling the funny part of the day, I just want to explain the lesson in more detail.  We basically got there and had to wait for V. to get home in order to teach.  When he got home, we started chatting and he asked what “restrictions” we have as a church.  I very briefly explained the law of chastity and then we went right into the lesson.  He asked some excellent questions and the spirit was really strong. It was one of the very few lessons that I have taught where the Spirit told me that I needed to ask him how he was feeling.  He said that he felt at peace and when I asked if he had ever felt like that before, he said, no.  He got very emotional and we were all overwhelmed with the power of the spirit.  We testified that it was the Holy Ghost testifying to him of the truths that we taught.  At that point he and his wife looked at each other and said, “Well, it looks like we are going to need to get married.”  I almost shouted for joy.  Missionaries live for lessons like that one.  If marriages could happen faster here in Chile, then they could be baptized by the end of my mission, but that is very unlikely.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Consecration Week part 2

June 29, 2016
    Today was a very long day.  This morning was super long and quite unproductive. We literally had no lessons until 5:45 and that was rough.  In the end of the day, we had a few really good lessons.  With on of them we had to frantically make phone calls to get another man to accompany us and it turned out to be worth the trouble when he made all the difference in the lesson.
Miracle #690: Today we passed by another family that was on the list and it turned out to be someone that I taught when I was with my trainer.
    The funny/trunky part of the day was receiving my flight itinerary and seeing that after a 28 hour travel day which include two very long layovers, I am going to be home on August 2nd.  The reason it is funny is that Elder Ashland flies with me to Atlanta, but then he leaves to Seattle on a flight that departs 5 hours before mine does.  He will get home to Canada before I get to Seattle.  Actually if I took Asplunds flight to Seattle, my folks could drive me home and get to Spokane about 2 hours before my plane arrives. Ridiculous.
June 30, 2016
    Today was fairly decent day, but all of our plans fell through except for one or two appointments.  The morning was pretty slow, but we did find more work to do in the ward on the computer.  After that we did a few contacts in the feria and went to a few lessons who just fell through completely. We ended up walking a ton today and we spent well over an hour putting up flyers for English class. 
Miracle #691: We had been working for a long time and really needed something to work for us.  I was praying to get something and the very last house not he block turned out to be the answer to my prayer. Cool Kid.
    The funny part of the day was probably when we shot off Hermana Nanculeo’s cap gun.  It was pretty dang loud because it was made to imitate a real gun.  Also, I made the mistake of eating some sugary treats today and have been craving sugar all day long, and am just too tired to resist.  I didn’t think that I would be this tired on day 4 of consecration week.  Only 3 more days to go…we can do this!
July 1, 2016
    Today we were absolutely wiped out.  Overall it was a good day, but because of our exhaustion, the lessons were not as spiritual as they should have been.  In the morning we tried to do morning contacts, but the rest of our district was late so the bus stop that we were going to contact was dead.  We had a decent lesson with M. and J., but it was a long day.
Miracle #692 All of our planned lessons worked out in the end.  Honestly, if they had fallen, I think that I would have died.
    The funny part of the day was just how tired we really were.  At one point, we HAD to sit down to rest and make some calls.  It was also funny when someone tried to tell us that they couldn’t accept the Book of Mormon because they are from the South?!?  What does that have to do with anything? We have meetings with the new president tomorrow morning so that should be interesting.
July 2, 2016
    We had a weird morning this morning.  At 10 AM we had a special conference with the new president, President Gwilliams.  I thought that it was going to be a really cool conference, but it ended up being a get-to-know-you thing. We spent like 3 hours just presenting everyone and I really didn’t care for it at all.  It sucked up our entire morning and in the afternoon we had a hard time in the work.  Our first lesson was also our best lesson even though I didn’t say much. 
Miracle #693 We were finally able to set up and pull off a family home evening with Maxi’s family. 
    The funny part of the day was telling jokes with Maxi’s family.  Some of them were super innocent, but others got a little bit out of hand.  It was also funny when I thought that it was 10:30, but when I got home it was only 9:30.  During the entire walk back to the house, my comp. knew what time it was, but didn’t tell me.  Me managed to squeeze in one last lesson right before we got home.  I am pretty ready for tomorrow.  It is my last monthly story telling time (testimony meeting) here in Chile.
July 3, 2016
    We are DONE! We worked 100 hours in 1 week.  I don’t think that I have ever done anything that exhausting in my entire life.  The week was full of miracles and it turned out to be the “best” week in both of our missions.  The week has been both super long and super rewarding at the same time.
Miracle #694: Using the list of members in our ward, we went to a supposedly less active members house only to learn that she didn’t live there anymore, but miraculously, the woman who lives there now is an inactive member who was receptive to our message.
    The funny part of the day was the FHE that we did tonight.  After the message and refreshments, we started to play a ton of games that have to do with thinking and observing.  The family got so frustrated that it was entertaining.  To me, the other funny part of the day was hearing our district leader’s reaction to our numbers for the week.  He thought that I was lying and gave me a hard time for a while. It was really pretty funny.  I was pretty happy with seeing the results of working our butt off.  If I had to say one negative thing about the week it would be that not studying for a whole week made a huge difference in how I felt at the end of the week.  I need to keep up my scripture study habits when I get home!
July 4, 2016
    Well today was sure a lot slower than we have been used to.  This morning we had a super lazy morning of cleaning and studies.  After a week of no exercising, I almost vomited while doing Insanity.  All of our lesson just fell through today and it was a little slow. 
Miracle #695: Somehow, after 1 good night’s rest, I feel recharged and ready to work.
    The funny part of the day was probably the fact that one of our crazy people that we teach, ran away to the south.  I was really worried about her until her twin told me that it was the 4th time she has done it. 
    Something that was definitely was not funny was cleaning the grout in our bathroom that probably hasn’t been cleaned in a year.  It was absolutely disgusting. 
July 5, 2016
    Today was a pretty good day.  The morning I barely got up the energy to do my workout and it totally wrecked me.  After lunch, we hit the streets and went to our lessons.
Miracle #696: It was one of those days where our plan A’s all fell through, but our plan B’s all worked out and we found 2 new investigators that we had been looking for during the past two weeks.
    The funny part of the day was in the last lesson of the day when the family’s dog started playing with us and before I knew it, he was peeing on my shoe.  I resisted the urge to kick the little rat across the room but remembering that I am a missionary and have an image to keep up.  Elder Diaz and Elder Aedo were on divisions tonight and a gringo came over, so for the first time in a very long time (over a year), I was in a house full of gringos.  It made me trunky for sure! Being so close to the end, I find my mind wandering and thinking about home a lot more than I should.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Consecration Week

June 22, 2016
    Today was a pretty dang good p-day for me even though it was sad.  It started off with a really meaningful service project at a members house from another stake.  Our entire zone went to help them rebuild their completely burned out house.  They lost a teenaged daughter in the fire.  I cannot imagine the pain that that family is going through right now.  Doing real service for people in real need is very meaningful and fulfilling.  I was designated at the wrecking ball of the project while the other elders had to clean up the mess that I made. 

Miracle #683: The rest of the family made it out of the fire alive.  It could have been much more tragic.
    The funny part of the day was watching the game between Chile and Columbia with the bishops family.  I simply do not understand how people can get so excited about a sport.  I can understand playing soccer and watching it, but when you start yelling insults at the other team, it is overkill. The other hilarious part of the day was playing with an electronic zapping machine thing that Elder Alsplund has.  It makes your muscles involuntarily contract at varying frequencies. We tried different muscle groups and the funniest one was the side of the neck.  We were laughing for 30 minutes straight. 
June 23, 2016
    Today was a fun day with my comp.  This morning we has our first planning session and we decided that next week we are going to do a consecration week which is where you have the goal to be out of the house as long as you can.  Our goal is 100 hours for the week. In order to do this, we have to leave the house every day by 7:00 am and eat 30 minutes lunches, and return home at 10:50 every night.  We also have to do a shortened p-day.  I have always wanted to try to do one of these weeks but have never been able to do it.  I am really excited about next week.
Miracle #684: All of the 4 people we taught today accepted a commitment and that made my companion super happy.
    The fun part of the day was just talking to my comp all say in the street.  For most of the last year of my mission, I haven’t really talked to my comps.  Of course biking between appointments prevents talking.  I am glad that I have Elder Aspland to talk to here at the very end of my mission.  We are going to finish together and finish strong.  It was pretty funny today when both of us got stuck for a few minutes watching a show that a member had playing in their house.  Usually it is just one missionary that gets sucked in and then their companion pulls them away from it.  But in this case, we were both mesmerized by “Independence Day” with all the action and explosions and stuff…oh boy!
June 24, 2016
    We had a good day today.  This morning we did a few contacts and then went to the church to print up a list of members.  We had the biggest lunch of every month with a member who usually makes a very large amount of awful tasting stuff. But today it was really good.  We ate broccoli and beans which came back to haunt us later in the day.  In the afternoon we went to the temple with B. and her mom, R, and her little brothers.  It is really a great thing to be able to take the people that you are teaching to the temple. 
Miracle #685: The biggest miracle was getting R. to go and do baptisms for the dead for the first time in her life.  She was super nervous, but she had a very positive experience. I was really happy to be able to help the ward in the temple today.
    There was a funny part of the day that was also a miracle of sorts.  We had to run back to the church to grab our phone and a guy asked us if he could use the church bathroom.  We let him in and then we also taught him a lesson.  We got his reference and everything.  The other super funny part of the day was when my comp. just destroyed the temple bathroom with “broccoli and beans”.
June 25, 2016
    Today was all right. This morning we did contacts in the fair with a pendon and it was quite successful for me.  After that, pretty much all of our plans fell through.  Our lunch was and enormous hassle that I would have preferred to miss all together.  After lunch, we started a companionship fast and went out to work.  Elder A. has a hard time with urgency, but for me it is not even worth bothering him about.  We walked around trying to introduce him to all the ward members but of course, no one was home.
Miracle # 686: We has a plan to teach someone, but I forgot where he lived and so we went to another person.  Then a little after we visited with that person, I remembered where plan A lived and when we got there, he was just pulling into his driveway. 
    The funny part of the day was when a guy came to us and tried to convince us that we should burn the Book of Mormon because if we didn’t, we would burn in Hell.  The other funny part of the day was when I walked up to a guy I know who was working with a friend an I just asked him how he was.  The friend just interrupted and obviously wanting me to go away just rudely said, “We are working right now.” Yeah if you don’t laugh at the daily rejection, you might just cry.
June 26, 2016
    Today was a good day.  In the morning, we had quite  few of our people actually come to church and one of my dreams from the beginning of my mission came true.
Miracle #689: Every since my training I have wanted to be able to see Maxi receive the priesthood and today that dream came true.

    The funny part of the day was how few people were in the street for the final of the Copa America.  Literally there was NO ONE.  It was pretty fun when some super chill people gave us some meat.  The celebration when Chile won the Copa America for the second time ever in history was pretty HUGE! 
    We are working super hard this week, but I am very low on energy.  With effort and faith, hopefully we can see miracles happen this week.  I am actually pretty trunk thinking about the fact that I only have 5 weeks left, but I want to work my butt of and forget about home if possible.  To be honest, I am so tired that I am worried about lasting to the end.  I can’t wait until I can rest.
June 27, 2016
    Today was an incredible day of work.  We started our consecration week by leaving the house at 7 AM and working all day long without stopping or going back to the house.  We spent basically 10 of our 15 working hours contacting.  We ended up pulling off a staggering 9 lessons in one day.  As far as quantity of lessons go, today was a record for both of our missions.
Miracle #688: All day long we were using a ward list to try to find members and even though we didn’t find very many, we actually found a ton of new people.
    To me, the whole day was super funny.  Elder A. is a funny guy. One more than one occasion today, dogs were barking at us and Elder A. would look and me and say, “on the count of 3 we are going to chase them.”  Every single time we chased after the dogs, they got scared and just booked it off the street.  By the end of the day, we hurt pretty bad from all the walking and chasing. My knees and back and feet are killing me tonight.  But, I feel super happy about how the day turned out.  Elder A. is one of my favorite companions because he makes everything we do pretty fun. You never know what he is going to do. On top of that, we teach really well together.
June 28, 2016
    Today was another miracle filled day.  I can’t really fathom why we are being so blessed, but we have has a ton of miracles.  This morning we started our 15 hour work day doing morning contacts that weren’t super productive at all. After that unsuccessful hour, we went to the chapel an did some list work on the computer discovering around 20 less active members to visit in our sector and about 520 in the other elder’s sector.
Miracle #689: Through a weird series of coincidences, we were standing outside of a ladie’s fence and SHE came out to contact us.  She is prepared for the message and she told us that she wanted to go to church.
    The funny part of the day was searching for member on our list and not finding her.  At 9:30 we went to a lesson planned with a future investigator and as it turned out, the investigator lives with the less active member that we were looking for!  We then proceeded to have a very good lesson with 2 people who understood more about the gospel that anyone else I have taught in a very very long time. She literally explained to us every principle that we wanted to teach her.  I am not kidding when I say that I haven’t been this excited to work for a long time!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

My New/and Final Companion

Lot of Goodbyes this week.
June 15, 2016
     Today was an exhausting p-day.  As a zone we went to play soccer (big surprise).  This time we played on a full sized field and I also played which is a rarity.  I ran all out for pretty much a solid hour.  I have never been able to run for long periods of time, but I surprised myself and outran everyone today.  I was pretty excited that I had that kind of endurance.  We played for so long that everyone else was getting leg cramps. After soccer, we shopped and then went back to the house for lunch.  We all crashed pretty hard.  I slept for just over an hour….so nice!
Miracle #676: The referrals in this sector are amazing,  We went to a referral this evening and he let us in and had a really exceptionally spiritual lesson.
    The funny part of the day was teaching Elder Diaz some calisthenics.  It is also pretty funny to see the latino get super intense about their soccer which contributes to making soccer no fun.  I got super trunk while signing up for U of U classes online today.  It stressed me out a little bit to try and figure the whole system out, but I got a very good schedule and I am excited to start studying.  Thinking about the future scares me a little bit, to be honest.
June 16, 2016
    Today was an okay day.  This morning we had 2 lessons planned. One of them was super far away and of course it was the one that fell through.
Miracle #677 Four people came to the English class because of the flyers that we posted.   Hopefully more will come next week.
    To give a little summary of the day: I fell asleep in a lesson with M, who we are preparing for baptism, we held our new English class, we taught a lesson to a ridiculously prideful family, and we finished off by visiting a recent convert whose brother has leukemia. We had decent lessons.
June 17, 2016
    Today we did divisions with the DL and I learned a lot.  He is not a very patient person and pretty critical of me, but he gave me some good tips  The day in and of itself was only decent. Right after meeting up for divisions, we went to look for a member who helped us out in a lesson. Maxi also wanted to go with us and we let him since there was another adult member coming along.  That was a pretty funny and crazy couple of hours.
Miracle #678: For the first time in a while, I really felt the guidance of the spirit telling me where to go and who to contact. Both of our good contacts were like spiritual double takes.
    The funny part of the day was how much the DL scoped out the girls.  The leaders of this zone are really good missionaries with the only exception  being that they are very girl crazy.  When I was in Portezuelo, I learned to basically stop seeing girls completely, but when I got here, it was a topic of way too many conversations in the zone and the house.  It has really affected me adversely.  I am not a huge fan of the leadership because of this.
June 18, 2016
    Today we did a lot of contacting and it went fairly well.  This morning we did contacts in the feria and had some decent referrals as a district.  When we got back to the house, I accidentally fell asleep until lunch…no one woke me up.  Because of the nap, I was actually more sleepy all day long.  We did have one lesson, but after the lesson, we just contacted all day.  My comp and I talked a lot today and things are going a lot better.  He is really a good person, and he tries so hard. 
Miracle #679: In the very last contact, my companion took the initiative and found an inactive member, who got baptized for his girl friend, who now wants his little kids to learn about God.
    At the end of the day a few people gave u some good food/desserts and it was hard to turn it down. Let’s just say that the other missionaries benefit from my diet.  I also thought it was funny that the elder who life in the sector next to ours had to go home early because there is a major gang war going on in their area.  The stories coming out of that sector are pretty good. 

 June 19, 2016
    Well I learned that I am going to have one more companion.  Today I was really paying attention to how Elder Morales works and he is like a new missionary!  He has progressed leaps and bounds since I met him.  It was so cold today that the work was a little bit hard to do.  No one really wants to talk to missionaries on a good day, but when the weather is bad, forget it.  My comp. will be leaving this sector, so we spent some time saying goodbye to a few people.
Miracle #680: I. called us to invite us to come over and eat a little something so that we could get out of the cold.  That really helped to pick up my companion’s spirits.

    The funny part of the day was probably making a few videos for Elder M.’s parents and showing our love for him by enforcing our new rule that if he makes his pouty 3 year old face, we will “gently” punch him in the arm.  His parents probably thought that we are abusing him, but we all find the rule pretty fun, including him.  The other funny part of the day was trying to resist/redirect everyone at our lunch appointment who wanted to look up my home city and see where I lived.  I really have avoided this at all costs because there is a big discrepancy with the lifestyle that I grew up with and the lifestyle of the people I work with. 
June 20, 2016
    Today was the longest day of goodbyes EVER.  We started off the day by helping I. with a hedge that he has outside of his house.  After trimming the bush, we had to practically run to get to the district meeting on time.  When we got there, the elder with the church keys was late.  A member picked us up early from the meeting to go to a lesson with some difficult twins.  We thought that the lesson was going to go poorly because they have been hard before and because of the conversation that we had leading up to the lesson, but we were wrong.
Miracle #681: The twins paid very close attention to the lesson and I distinctly felt the impression of what to say.  Later they confirmed that it was the message that they needed to hear. 
    The funny part of the day was when C. (the wacko member from Capitan Avalos) came with the Perez family to bring us some food (sell us food technically.) Without even noticing, he managed to get upstairs to MY room and take the mattress off the frame and shove in the bathroom.  It was super fun seeing my 2 best friends from Capitan Avalos.   They are going to go to the airport when I leave. 
June 21, 2016
    Today was a huge surprise.  My new companion is Elder Ashland.  When I was in Capitan Avalos, I lived with him and thought he was super weird, but now I really like him. Today was the most comfortable day of work I have had in a long time.  Elder A. is from Alberta, Canada.  Actually he lives way outside of the city.  Teaching with him is super easy. 
Miracle #682: While we were contacting doors, a lady walked past us and I felt like I should talk to her.  So I did.  We went to a nearby park with her and actually taught her a real lesson.  It was great.
    The funny/lame part of the day was the fact that my new companion goes home from his mission at the exact same time as I do.  This means that 2 brand new missionaries to this area will be replacing us.  It might be a little difficult to keep the energy up at the very end, but we are both pretty excited to work hard for the rest of our mission. The house is already more entertaining at night than it was before.  I was kind of hoping for a companion who would do exercises with me, but that is not going to happen.  In a little over a month I will be home.  The end is coming super fast.  I am excited to go to school and start that new chapter.  I found out today that Elder Anderson will also be going to the U of U. 

Elder Asplund trying to camoflage himself with his backpack.