Wednesday, October 29, 2008

So let them eat cake!

Adventures with Bread

Cultural Note - Chileans are very well known for their bread. They are the worlds second largest consumers of bread, next to France. I try to eat it as sparangly(spelling?) as possible, which usually consists of two-three full pieces a day. Most missionaries go home about 20 pounds heavier because they eat the delicious substance all day every day (it's real cheap and filling). On that note, we had the fun priveledge of helping out our Ward Mission Leader in moving and piecing together an industrial sized Oven, as he is a Baker. We had some good times. We got to tear apart a building, to fit a forklift through a small entrance. But that's not what I'm here to do, scallywags.

Working has had its ups and downs this week. To start with a good one, we're starting to see fruits from the "Lunch Activity" that we do every day at lunch. I'm not sure if I've explained it before, but shoot, let's do it again. The Lunch activity consists of us teaching a gospel principle during lunch, to keep the tone of the conversation doctrinal. From there, we invite the member to leave with us to go and invite one of their nieghbors to a "Family Activity" (Not a "Family Home Evening") there in their home. Anywho, this activity, whereas was not completing with it's promises of new investigatores and references, is now beginning to produce that which is most desireable to a missionary, which is investigatores who are genuinly(spelling?) interested and have fellowship withen the church. ****INVITATION!**** You should have the missionaries over at your house with the intent of helping them find new investigators. Nay, the purpose of having the missionaries over for a meal is not to impart food, for they can cook and buy food for themselves, but rather to establish trust between the members and the missionary work, and to give them people to teach. I'm sure the style of missionary work is different in the States, so ya'll should talk to your local Elders and ask 'em how you can have them talk to your neighbors and friends.

As for something sad, Génesis is kind of out of the picture... Poor guy. Some day he'll have the desires to help himself, but until that day, there's not much we can do for him. Well family, that should just about do it. Take care of yourselves, especially ya'll who are about to have babies. I got a feeling I might be sharing a birthday with a small asian boy. Take care!

¡Se Quedan!

Se Quedan - its plural?!
Yeehaw! We both get to stay here. Elder Remy and I are staying here in Ovalle for another 6 weeks (well 5 now)! We're both pretty stoked. Elder Remy especially, as he will be going on 7 months in the same sector. Well, he's excited about some aspects - Working with the members, yes - Knocking the same doors for the 5th time, no. But all in all, life is good.
The work was a little, different, this week. We did lots of service projects. We always ask people, in any situation, if theres anything we can do to help them. Always. And usually, they just say no. But not this week! This week we painted the interior of a house, we took the wallpaper off of another, we helped a sweet little old lady make soup, and so on. And on top of that, there was a district activity in our building. All of the branches came together and had dances, food, and cultural displays from various countried from south and central america. While we didn't actively participate in the merriment, we had the awesome duty of bringing new people to the activty, which we with with gusto. I highly enjoyed it.
As for Génesis, we're not 100% sure what's going on with him... he seems to have fled to his mothers house this last week, which is OK with me as long as he's not around them Patos Malos and other evil influences. But the work is continuing quite nicely, and having people progress is pretty sweet. Each day I'm going to bed highly exhausted from the days activities, and each morning I somehow have enough strenght to go do it all over again. Thanks for your prayers everyone, keep up the good work on the homefront, Happy happy birthday Pa.

Josefa e Ignacio - These are my substitute Niece and Nephew. Josefa is 3 and Ignacio recently hit his first birthday. They're the kids of the Branch President. He has 1 more daughter of 9 years old, named Javiera.

Viva Mexico - Our branch got to represent Mexico in the activity. They didn't do too bad a job with the costumes!

La Rama - On the left we have Hmo. Gonzales, the Elders Quroum President, then Alejandra and President Barraza, the branch president, then Hma. Sandra from the Primary and her lil' helper whose name escapes me.

These two pictures are how the chileans interpreted the mexican Tortilla. More like funny tasting bread... They then tried to do Burritos and Tacos using Pancakes in place of the Taco shell. Also very hilarious, and tasty!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Another Turning of the Wheel...

Just about ready to hit up another Change.

So Changes are here, and I'm not sure what's going to be going down. I'm sure I'll get a new companion, as he's been in this sector for about 6 months. But who knows... I know some Elders who've been in one place for 9.

But enough about that! This week was sweet! We had interviews and Zone Conference (with 3 zones), and I got to see tons of old friends and learn lots of new things. We did a pretty slick practice of teaching people about the Book of Mormon in under 3 minutes, and at the end, President Wilhelm (The Mission President) called on three companionships to teach the APs and Him (2 on 1 - the companionship and 1 of those three) and he called on Elder Remy and me. We had the pleasure of teaching an AP in front of the zones, and what was pretty neat, I didn't feel too nervous. The AP was playing the part of an Investigator who had the attention span of a chipmunk, and believed everything we said right away. We had to dig out a hidden doubt or something like that, and teach the Book of Mormon (in 3 minutes, as previously stated... we were timed). We had to kind of verbally slap the kid to pay attention, and tell him to pray to know specifically if the book is true.

As for working, there's a lot of madness going on, which I won't get in to 100% until more details unfold, but I'll give you the start of it. Last week, between the morning and afternoon sessions of conference, a kid came to the gates of the church barely able to walk due to alcohol consumption. He introduced himself as Genesis (and showed us his ID card to prove it was his name. He's 21 years old), and told us that he wanted to stop drinking. We told him that we'd come over Tuesday, which we did. He was a completely different person Sober, completely aware of his addiction, told us that he wants to stop drinking. We taught a little bit about the restoration, and all about the Word of Wisdom. He promised to stop drinking. We then passed by every day for about 5 minutes to talk to him to see how he's doing. However, come the weekend, we could not come into contact with him, so we left some notes of encouragement. He had a bit of a relapse on Sunday, it turned out, with details that I won't go into for they are rather personal on his part, but we promised him that we would do everything to help him get over his weakness. We had a sincere prayer with him and his uncle, and we're going to develop a stronger plan to help him overcome.

Well, that should just about do it. If anyone has any sort of experience on helping others overcome alcoholism, I'd love to hear it, for I'm just kind of running on what Preach my Gospel tells me (which is not that bad, by the way). So far we've identified some of the sources of his inspiration to drink, but as to how to approach the matter or what routes to take I'm not 100%.

Any and all help will be greatly appreciated, thank you.


Aiight here we go:

Homies form the MTC - Pretty self explanatory. That's all of us that came to the mission from the MTC (Elder Ehlder is MIA somewhere down south). From left to right that's Elder Daniels, Elder Horspool, Elder Christiansen, and Elder Campbell.

Kohler and I - Kohler goes home this Wednesday. Go get em Tiger!

Us 3 - That's Elder Kohler, Elder Page, and Me. Page is in my zone, and a pretty awesome Elder.

Hard at Work - Personal Study at the pension! A Kodak moment if ever there was one. We love you, Elder Remy!

Friday, October 10, 2008

A weekend at the Big Screen

General Conference Rocks!

So we had the rule that we were only allowed to go to General Conference if we had either a less active or an investigator with us, and luckily, we had one in each session! It was pretty amazing. I don't know what happened, but General Conference is like the Super Bowl, but x3. I took notes for my own benefit and motivation... I didn't even take many notes in High School. I guess I'm changing too... It's a good thing President Monson talked about Changes. And how bout them new temples?? Keep up the good work Paul and Natalie, and look out, Pope!

But I ramble. This week we've been real busy trying to get things all planned out for some things going down next week. Something rather stupidly comical happened, which I am sorry to say was the most exciting event to happen (outside of General Conference and various lessons of courage and triumph which I won't bore you all with). Alexandra Pozo, the wife of the Branch President, accidentally flushed her cellphone down the toilet. She flipped out, and started to cry. To make a silly heroic rescue, I rolled up my sleeves and tried to reach through the toilet to save the cellphone, but avast, my hands were too big. We tried to open up some of the sewer pipes and see if we could find it, but to no avail. All in all, our comical attempts and failures brightened Sister Pozo's day, and she eventually got over it. Some of our attempts included, but are not limited to: Scraping around with Hangers, Flushing hot water down the toilet, Flushing Soap to make it slippier, and Spelunking.

Well, that should just about do it. I don't have any pictures this week, but that's not what the mission is all about. It's about going where nobody has gone before, doing what no man has done, and getting your hands real nice and dirty ( 'n' stinky). John Bytheway once said, "Ordinary missionaries take home memories and trinkets, Extraordinary missionaries leave testimonies behind." Or something like that.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fresh Faces

So things are starting to look up folks. Elder Remy and I have had some ups and downs over these last weeks, and things just kinda got kicked up a notch (bam?!). We had been teaching 1 family and 1 kid regularly (see the "President's nephew from the last post. His Mom finally let him go to church! Rock!). All in all, things were kinda slow. However, this week we pumped out lots of contacts in rather obscure places, and the Lord decided to bless us with some people to teach! Let's take a look, shall we:

Juan Carlos, Luisa, Ana, and Yarky are a part member inactive family. Juan is the only member, and the rest have never been to church. We met the wife, Luisa first. She let us into her patio right away, and we started talking about the Restoration. All of a sudden, a man came out of nowhere and started listening, with a stern look on his face. His skepticism turned into joy when we found out that we were "Mormons" and we set up an appointment for the next day. He told us that he was baptized when he was 14 in a river in Los Andes (A city in the Santiago North Mission), and hadn't been to church in over 30 years, but never lost his testimony. He got into a car accident recently (he used to drive trucks for a living) and is out of work. His humbled situation put him in Ovalle, and prepared him and his family to receive us. We found them on a Friday, taught them Saturday, and they went to church the following day. Rather amazing really.
Two more people have joined the party. Actually, two more investigatores, it's a family that's trying to reactivate themselves. Giselle is a 15 year old girl who has a 7 month old daughter who bears the same name. She said that she's ready to make any changes in her life to join the church. Pretty stinkin Listo. Her little sister Angie decided to listen too, and after teaching them both, they loved it! Their brother, a less active member, is helping them get acquainted (spelling?) with the church. The mother (also inactive) is neither here nor there with us at the moment, but is allowing us to teach them. I'm pretty stoked to have some people who are ready and prepared to join the church. October is going to be a blast, folks!


So, I kind of attempted to cut my own hair using a beard trimmer I received from the mother. It didn't work out nearly as well as hoped. I had to have my comp come help me and make it so I could walk outside far enough to get to a barber shop. I'm afraid it might be too short now. But it was dang hilarious.

A sweet picture of Ovalle from a different angle.