Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hello from Chile

February 24, 2009 (5 months and still a Gringo)

Whoa, I still can't believe I've been out 5 months! Where does the time go in this crazy world? Well, I'm into my third transfer here in Arica with a new companion, Elder Knackstedt, and it's amazing! I'm sending a few pictures. The first two are from last week with Elder Cañellas. We took these photos in front of el Morro. How pretty, huh? The last picture is of me and my new companion posing in the pensión.

Anyways, life is great. Thanks for the emails and love! It's always nice to have things to read. Oh, and to answer questions about Dearelders and other mail, it always depends here in Arica. I got a dearelder from mom yesterday. It took 10 days to arrive. However, sometimes it's longer, like one month. Weird, huh?

The first week of a new transfer is supposedly the worst number-wise. However, this week was incredible! We reached all of our goals and then some. And, although it was difficult and a lot of work, I can't deny the many miracles that I am privileged to see every day! Missionary work rocks! On Friday this week, we left with Jan, one of my converts in December. We went to visit one of his friends, but she was busy, so we made an appointment for the next day. We left, visited another member (Denis) and left with him, and still had little success. As all of our plans fell through, we stood on a street and contemplated what to do. As I was pondering, I felt that we should visit the house of one of our former investigators. We knocked on the door and were surprised when Jan and his friend answered the door! But more, they were with other friends and our former investigator. So, what could we do but have a big meeting and teach everyone there? As we taught, the spirit was powerful, and it was a real miracle! In one unplanned lesson, we gained a bunch of investigators who already have member friends and support in the church. I hope that something comes of this, so I'll just keeping working and praying for miracles.

Right now, we have 2 baptisms planned for March, but we're really focusing on retention and less-active members. We've been working with the members here a lot, and it's true that the members of the ward are the most important to find new investigators and also to retain new converts. We have a huge responsibility here on the mission to help the work of the Lord go forward, and at times it's overwhelming, but it's so true that our Heavenly Father is working by our side and helping us every step of the way. Have the days of miracles ceased? No! :)

JJJmmmm, todovia no sé que más puedo decir en español. No quiero contar muchas historias en castellano solamente porque ¡quiero que todos ustedes entiendan! Es un poco loco pero estoy hablando otro idioma. ¿Que honda? Si, tengo que aprender mucho mas, pero estoy disfrutando la vida mas y mas porque puedo entender cuando las personas estén hablando conmigo. La obra misional es genial, y la vida es buena. Voy a seguir adelante en la obra del Señor, y pido que contiúen en la fe -- ¡mi familia es capo! :) Ayuden los misioneros en su barrio -- es verdad que los miembros son lo mas importante para ayudar el progreso de la obra misional. ¡Vimos artas bendiciones del trabajo con los miembros!

babelfish: JJJmmmm, todovia I do not know that I can more say in Spanish. I do not want to only count many histories in Castilian because I want that all you understand! He is a little crazy but I am speaking another language. That deep? If, I must learn much more, but I am enjoying the life but and but because I can understand when the people are speaking with me. The missionary work is brilliant, and the life is good. I am going to follow ahead in the work of the Gentleman, and ask that they contiúen in the faith -- my family is hood! :) The missionaries in their district help -- it is truth that the members are but the important thing to help the progress of the missionary work. We saw artas blessings of the work with the members!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

¡Hola! ¿Cómo están esta semana?

February 16, 2009: Hello! How they are this week?

This week has been great. First of all, let me tell you about the pictures! The first two are of our lunch on Monday a week ago. We had mariscos (shell fish) in one of the stores in the center of Arica. MMMM, ¡que rico! The next one is me with some cinammon rolls that we baked the other day. They turned out alright, but they were more like cookies than cinammon rolls. Hmm, I guess I'll just have to keep practicing! The last picture is one of me and my companion with the Flores family. They are awesome, so I had to get a picture.

Okay, so things that happened this week. I had my first warm shower in Chile! My companion and I finally purchased gas in order to cook the cinammon rolls, so we decided to have a warm shower. But I don't know, I think I still might enjoy the cold showers more! ;)

We attended a fireside in which our investigator (Erwin) was presenting the theme for our ward conference: "Guardar los mandamientos, guardar silencio, invoca mi espíritu." When he bore his testimony, it was so powerful! He has his baptismal date planned for the end of March, and I am grateful for the opportunity I had to teach him a little. But, now he can probably teach me a thing or two about the church. He will be a strong member; I'll probably send a thing or two more about him after his baptism.

The violin performance went well on Thursday night. I just played a little Bach, and though I was a little rusty, I don't think the members in my ward could tell the difference. On Sunday, we had our ward conference. After many practices and a lot of prayer, the choir sang in sacrament meeting -- the first choir EVER in Simón Bolívar (my ward -- the oldest ward in Arica). And it went awesome! I know our many prayers were answered because it was a miracle we witnessed yesterday during our performance. :)

No sé que más puedo decir de la obra acá en Chile. Cada dia es una bendición, y aunque hay muchas pruebas y desafíos, voy a seguir adelante y poner mi confianza en el Señor. Hoy día es el comienzo de mi tercer cambio acá en Chile. Recibí una llamada esta mañana de Elder Verwer, un asistente al Presidente Urra (el presidente de la misión), y ¡me dijo que mi nuevo compañero será Elder Knacksfeldt, un gringo! Estoy animado por este nuevo cambio, pero voy a extrañar mi entrenador, Elder Cañellas. ¡Él está regresando a su casa mañana! El tiempo en la misión pasa volando -- ¡que loco!

Babelfish translation: I do not know that I can more say here of the work in Chile. Every day is a blessing, and although there are many tests and challenges, I am going to follow ahead and to put my confidence in the Gentleman. Nowadays third change here in Chile is the beginning of my. I received a call this morning of Elder Verwer, an assistant to President Urra (the president of the mission), and it said to me that my new companion will be Elder Knacksfeldt, a gringo! I am animated by this new change, but I am going to surprise my trainer, Elder Cañellas. It is returning to his house tomorrow! The time in the mission happens flying -- that crazy!

Well, not much more to say. I'll tell you more about my new companion next week after I meet him tomorrow. I have great expectations for this next cambio (transfer)! Whoa, I can't believe how fast the time is flying! Anyways, take care, and know that I love you!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Moldy Rice

Feb. 9, 2009: Whoa! Where is the time going?

Hello my family! Another week has come and passed, but I still can't believe it. Didn't I just email you yesterday? :)

First off, the pictures I'm sending are for mom because I know that she'll love it. It's a picture of some rice that we made a few weeks back when our papito was out of town (attending the temple in Bolivia). Do you notice anything strange about the rice? Is it normal to have green clumps? ¿Te gusta arroz verde?

Bueno, entonces esta semana fue buenisima. Mi compañero, Elder Cañellas, me está dejando en más o menos una semana, pero el es un buen ejemplo para mi. Aunque tiene él menos que 10 días más, ¡no está tronky! [homesick]. Estabamos trabajando mucho ésta semana por llevar almas a Cristo, y he visto en realidad los milagros de Dios. El viernes, tuvimos un intercambio en nuestro distrito. Yo trabajé con Elder Brown, un misionero gringo con mas o menos la misma experiencia como yo. Especialmente en este día, vi el amor de Dios, y sentí su espíritu apoyarme y ayudarme recibir el don de lenguas y la interpretación de lenguas. Yo sé que cuando necesite yo entender, entendré. Cuando necesite hablar, podré hablar. ¡Cual gran es el poder y el amor de Dios! Me encanta ser un misionero para servir y trabajar. No hay un mejor llamamiento en esta vida. :)

Here is the babelfish translation:

Good, then this week was best. My companion, Elder Cañellas, are leaving me in more or less one week, but it is a good example for my. Although it less has than 10 days more, he is not tronky! [homesick]. Estabamos working much this one week to take souls to Christ, and I have seen in fact the miracles of God. Friday, we had an interchange in our district. I worked with Elder Brown, a foreign missionary with more or less the same experience like I. Especially in this day, I saw the love of God, and felt its spirit to lean and to help me to receive the gift of languages and the interpretation of languages. I know that when I need to understand, entendré. When it needs to speak, I will be able to speak. What great one is the power and the love of God! It enchants to me to be a missionary to serve and to work. There is no a better call in this life. :)

Man, isn't it weird to think that everyday I'm just speaking, thinking, eating, dreaming, and walking in Spanish? I was thinking of that the other day, and it just blew my mind. But somehow, it's true. Crazy... Anyway, this week was amazing. I really feel the blessings of my Heavenly Father in helping me learn this language! This week, I continued having choir practice Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday in order to prepare for our ward conference this coming Sunday. I don't think we're ready yet, but I just pray we can pull it together before Sunday comes!!! I also taught the English class on Wednesday, and it went really well. Right now, I'm getting ready for a violin performance this coming Friday. We have a lot of activities in our ward this week to prepare for the conference, and in one of them, the Bishop asked me to play the violin! So, I'm staying pretty busy with it all down here in Arica.

We taught an investigator this week (Matias), and we challenged him to be baptized on the 21st of this month. The only thing we were lacking was permission from him mom, and so that is what we prayed and fasted for on the first. And guess what? She gave her permission! Now we just need to make sure he comes to church a few more times to ensure that he won't go inactive once we leave the area. I really do hope I can help all the investigators I have have a strong testimony of the gospel so they won't fall away! We've been working with re-activating the inactive men of our ward, and we have a gigantic list. We have about 120 people who attend our ward, and yet our records show over 1000 people! So, it's been some hard work to try to clean up this list, but it's all worth it. This is why I'm here!!!

Let's, there's not too much more to say. I did some service this week (like always), and I've been enjoying the last few days with my companion before he goes home. The members like to cook us really good food since he's leaving soon. It's great! We had some steaks at the house of our stake president and more elsewhere. Oh man, the life of a missionary is great!

Anyway, all is well here. The work is hard because everyone is still on vacation or at the beach, but I know that I'm doing all I can to serve the Lord. It is the greatest work in the WORLD!!! :D I'll just keep on doing my thing down here. Keep on being amazing back in Albuquerque! Enjoy the college life, Jacob! Take the class "Journey through Genius" if you have the chance (you have to enroll in the Honors Program! It's the best).

Thanks for the emails! Thanks Jared and Jessica, keep on being amazing. Are you going to take that job in Santa Fe, Jared? I think that would be cool. Santa Fe is a really neat city. How's it like living like an old person, Jessica? Do you like it? You should send me some pictures of your apartment!

I love you all! Thanks for the support and everything. If you want anything more specific about Chile or whatever, just tell me. That's what I'm here for. :)

Saludos de tu hijo chileno

January 26, 2009: Saludos de tu hijo chileno (Greetings of your Chilean son)

¡Hola mis padres! ¿Cómo está la vida en albuquerque? Porque la vida en Chile no puede ser mejor. :) Esta semana pasada fue un poco difícil porque todos los miembros fueron a bolivia para asistir al templo. Pero, aprendí que el éxito de esta obra misional depende en los miembros y su trabajo! Es cierto, entonces ¡sigan adelante! :) Todovía no puedo creer que estoy hablando en español y, lo que es más, yo puedo entender (más o menos). Loco... Esta semana mi compañero y yo hemos visto muchos milagros de nuestro padre celestial. Voy a contarlos en inglés más adelante. Yo sé que mi español no es perfecto, pero tambien puedo ver mi progreso. Estoy muy agredecido por las bendiciones de Dios! Es verdad, papá, Dios nos ama y siempre está. ¡La iglesia es verdad!

Here is the babelfish translation:

Hello my parents! How it is the life in Albuquerque? Because the life in Chile cannot better be. :) This past week was a little difficult because all the members went to Bolivia to attend the temple. But, I learned that the success of this missionary work depends in the members and their work! It is certain, then they follow ahead! :) Todovía I cannot think that I am speaking in Spanish and, which is more, I can understand (more or less). Crazy person… This week my companion and I have seen many miracles of our celestial father. I am going to count them in English more ahead. I know that my Spanish is not perfect, but also can see my progress. Very I am agredecido by the blessings of God! It is truth, papa, God loves to us and always it is. The church is truth!

Okay, time to change my thoughts to English. How's everything going? I hope that babelfish does a good job of translating my Spanish for dad. :)

Wow, where do I start? Thank you for all your love and your emails; they are much appreciated! I loved reading the story of dad, Jared, and the floor. It's so true that we are blessed when we strive to do all we can to be obedient to the commandments we've been given. And I'm so happy that all is well at home! :) Tell Jared Happy Birthday for me! I'm giving him the gift of love for his birthday. LOVE

I'm sending some more pictures from last week. Sorry I'm not very original. I just thought you wanted some more pictures of the llama. Also, so that you don't get the idea that my mission is a paradise, I'm sending a picture from today so you can see the mountains of sand in the background. This is the real Chile Antofagasta mission. :)

Well, the Castellano (Spanish) is going good. Everyday I'm learning tons, and though it's hard to see the progress from day to day, I really can see that I've made a bit of progress from the time I left the MTC. ;) This week really has been miraculous. We taught one of our investigators who has been having a hard time with the decision to be baptized. As we taught him this week, we felt like we should teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ one more time. As we were teaching from 2 Nephi 31, the Spirit was powerful. I gave a baptismal challenge, and he said yes! Only, he wants to wait until his parents-in-law are in town (in March). Sadly, Elder Cañellas goes home February 15 (más o menos), so he has to miss out on this one. But, I feel so blessed to have taken part of this miracle. Missionary work rocks!

Also, we have had a challenge from our mission president to reactivate 3 male members in three months. It has been hard, but as we worked to complete this goal, we saw the miracles start coming again. We found inactive members in the most unlikely places. And guess what? We had 3 inactive members attend sacrament meeting yesterday! It's true that our Heavenly Father takes care of us as we are working for Him.

Well, I love life. Thanks for all you do for me. I will try to send better photos next time. We just spent all morning today cleaning, so there's not much to send. I love you all! Take care, and stay amazing!

¡Hola Familia!

January 19, 2009 (Museum)

Whoa, I still can't believe I'm doing nothing but speaking in and listening to Castellano (Spanish) all day. Que loco... My Spanish really isn't too great, but I'm trying! Hopefully by Mother's day I'll be able to speak a little more and be really awkward for the phone call. That's my goal for the new year! ;)

Well, the photos I'm sending are all from today. As a zone, we visited the Refugio Floral del Picaflor de Arica, the place where they pick and prepare all of the olives, and a museum of a bunch of ancient artifacts from the early America. There are some of the oldest mummies in the world at this museum! Cool, huh?

The pictures of the llama are for Jacob. Remember the good ol' days of the Emperor's New Groove? Well, I met a llama today, and it just happened to be my companion! It turns out he drank some magic potion prepared by an evil witch who wanted to stop the progress of the church, but she forgot one of the fundamental laws of the Universe: El estandarte de la verdad se ha izado, y ¡ninguna mano impía puede detener el progreso de la obra! :)

And how can you forget the picture at Roly's of my gigantic lunch? Today I decided to try the chacarero (a gigantic sandwich with beef, porotos verdes [green beans], mayonesa, ají [hot chili peppers] instead of the churrasco, and my companion had a completo (hot dog with everything on it). And yes, I'm drinking Sprite again to ensure that the parasites are all dead. Oh yeah, and they didn't offer water at the restaurant! Crazy...

Well, this week has been great. I'm learning a lot and having a great time. Here you go for some Castellano, Chilean style:

¡Mi familia me asombra! Gracias por su correo electronico, sus pensamientos y sus oraciones. En realidad, no tengo mucho para decir. La obra misional es difícil a veces pero siempre un milagro. Mi compañero le gusta enseñarme cómo hablar más "flaite" (la palabra por "gangster" acá en Chile). Las "ch"s son mas como "sh" y viceversa. Y sé que mi castellano no es perfecto, pero ¡estoy tratando! Jared, ¿tienes más ideas para aprender este idioma? Probablemente, solamente tengo que tener paciencia, pero ¡esto es difícil! Trato estudiar el idioma 30 minutos o mas cada día, pero siempre hay otras cosas para hacer (como el almuerzo a la casa de papito o los miembros, reuniones de distrito, etc.). Jacob -- ¡quiero hablar contigo en Español cuando regresa yo! Practica mucho antes de regresar yo. :)

Here is the babelfish translation of the last paragraph:
My family astonishes to me! Thanks for its electronic mail, its thoughts and their orations. In fact, I do not have much to say. The missionary work is difficult sometimes but always a miracle. My companion it likes to teach how to speak " more to me; flaite" (the word by " gangster" here in Chile). " ch" s is but like " sh" and vice versa. And I know that my Castilian is not perfect, but I am trying! Jared, you have more ideas to learn this language? Probably, I only must have patience, but this is difficult! Treatment to study the language 30 minutes or but every day, but always are other things to do (like the lunch to the house of papito or the members, meetings of district, etc.). Jacob -- I want to speak with you in Spanish when I return! I practice long before returning. :)