Monday, March 23, 2009

Saw a movie in Spanish...

March 23, 2009 (Thinking in Spanish)

Hello family!

Well, it's getting harder an harder to think and speak in English, so I'll just take that as a success. Yay! :) Today we watched the movie: "La vida es bella" in Spanish with subtitles in English. It was great! But the Spanish was a lot better than the English subtitles. I never thought I'd say that...

Thanks for your emails and pics from your trip to the Grand Canyon! Wow, it looks amazing. I'm pretty jealous; we'll have to go again when I come home! Oh, and if you want to send money for Easter, feel free. I won't complain. :) Just so you know, I usually use the money to buy more food so I can get fat. But, I'm thinking about buying some more white shirts or possibly a souvenir from Arica. I guess we'll see...

Hmmm, I guess I have 6 months in the mission tomorrow! It's kinda crazy how fast the time is passing here. The days and weeks just seem to fly by. This week, my companion got sick with brochitis (I think I got him sick), and so I had some great time to study the scriptures, Jesus the Christ, and Spanish in our apartment while he was resting. Still, we saw many miracles as we left for a few hours each day to labor for the Lord. The crazy thing is that I think studying the scriptures in English is the best way to learn Spanish. No joke. When we left, I really felt fluent and comfortable speaking in Spanish, and even scriptures that I studied in English were brought to my mind in Spanish. Have the days of miracles ceased? I think not!

This week, we had the great chance to teach Kimberlly, and I really felt the spirit strong during our lessons. We set a baptismal date for April, but I'm sad because I might not be here! (transfers are next week...) Still, I have done all I can to help Kimberlly accept the gospel, and I really have seen miracles with her progress. Before we taught her, she told us that she didn't believe in God. Now, not only does she have a testimoy of the gospel and her Heavenly Father, she's willing to change her life greatly to be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. What great blessings there are in the Gospel!

Also, I get to baptize my first person this Saturday. Her name is Ambar, an 8-year-old in our ward (a ward baptism). I'll send some pictures next week!

We also had a ton of succes with the less active members this week. As we focused our efforts on finding and helping them, we really did see miracles. I guess it all goes with the blessings of obedience -- when we follow the counsel of our priesthood leader with exactness, the Lord is bound to His words and we receive blessings. Do you know what scripture mastery that comes from, Dad? ;)

Life is great. I love being a missionary and serving the Lord! I've finally found that I've developed more charity and love for the people here in my area. I was thinking that I might leave the area this transfer, and it made me feel really sad! I don't want to leave the people here in Arica, in my ward, in my sector, because they really have become like second family to me. But, I will go wherever the Lord commands. It's a great thing to know that because of the service I was privileged to render, my ward is a little stronger, the faith of the members and non-members alike is a little greater. What a miracle to have been blessed with this great opportunity!

Lo siento porque no tengo fotos con este correo electrónico, como a ustedes les prometí; más, ¡la próxima semana las voy a enviar, si o si! No tengo mucho tiempo más para escribir, pero espero que sepan que les quiero muchisimo!!! Gracias por su apoyo, amor, instrucción, etc. todo mi juventud y en la actualidad. ¡Me hace feliz saber que estaremos juntos para siempre! Oh, y me acuerdo algo: Jacob, ¿cómo estás con tu polola [novia]? Tienes que decirme porque somos hermanos. ¡Es cierto! ¿Tienen una fecha?

babelfish: I feel it because I do not have photos with this electronic mail, as to you I promised to them; more, to the next I am going them week to send, if or if! I do not have long time more to write, but I hope that they know that I want to them very enormously! Thanks for its support, love, instruction, etc. all my youth and at present. Me it lets happy know that we will be together for always! Oh, and I decide something to me: Jacob, how you are with your polola [fianc2ee]? You must say to me because we are brother. It is certain! They have a date?


Well, chau! Gotta go! Love you all!

Being Angels

March 16, 2009 (Better than backpacking)

Hello my amazing family! How is everything going? I can't believe that you are all backpacking in the Grand Canyon right now!!! I'm pretty jealous, I'm not gonna lie. :)

Well, I'm actually not too jealous because I love being a missionary. It rocks! This week, I just had this crazy reality check when my companion and I were training a bunch of ward missionaries that were just called to serve. I was talking in SPANISH. ¿Que onda? But what is more, we were teaching about how to speak and teach with more tact, being considerate of the other person's time, beliefs, circumstances, etc. At one point I thought: Wait. They can speak Spanish and I'm just learing. How can I tell them how to speak to others? But that's the crazy part about being a missionary, I guess. We really have received this great gift of tongues for which I am eternally grateful.

I still can't believe I've been out almost 6 months! It feels like just moments. Before you know it, I'll be at the airport... married! chiste. Anyways, this week was pretty amazing. It's still hard to understand when people talk who have really thick chilean accents, but it's all good. With time, I know it will come. Hopefully I can come home speakin' a little chiléanpo. ;) Right now, I can fool people into thinking I'm from Chile if I only speak a little (like asking basic questions or telling the time) because I have the dark skin of the people of Chile. It's funny because my companion has the blue eyes, so all the people talk to him in English as a Gringo and to me in Spanish as if I'm Latino. Too bad I can't understand anything!

Anyways, this week has been filled with miracles. As we've focused ourselves on the reactivation of less-active members, bautizar al reactivar y reactivar al bautizar, we have really seen some great success. One of the less active members blessed his baby girl and accepted a calling in the church, and another attended our recent Zone Conference -- he is going to receive the Priesthood next week, and he's working on his mission papers now!

I don't know if I've told you about one of my investigators before, but I'll tell you again just in case. He is really smart and always is working. His wife was an in-active member, but as we worked with their family, we baptized her daughter Joaquina in January and reactivated the mom. However, it's been tough with Erwin. However, we saw a miracle as he started coming to church and all the activities. When I directed the choir, he came to every practice and sang for the ward conference. He also gave fireside and shared his testimony of the gospel -- it was crazy powerful! Right now, we have a baptismal date for him for the 28th of this month, provided that his in-laws return from their vacations. I hope they do because I might be leaving this sector the first week of April!

This city, Arica, has really become like a home to me. The members of the ward, the investigators, the less active members -- they are like my family away from my family. I can really feel their love and their amazing spirits. It is incredible to see these faithful saints and to work with them! One of our investigators who is progressing is Carla, a daughter of members. Her mom told us that we are the angels in her life, especially for bringing the gospel to her daughter and always bringing the spirit into her home. Another family, Hipólito y Lila (less active members), told us that we were the answer to their prayers. We just happened to pass by in the very moment when they were praying for a miracle and a blessing for their daughter. This was a real miracle, and Hipólito is almost reactivated! He just needs to accept a calling in the church.

Anyway, sorry there're no pictures this week. I'll try to send more next week. Just remember to have a blast in the Grand Canyon and send me some great pictures (as long as they're small and not too many). :)

I love you so much! Thank you for your thoughts and your emails. They are always welcome!

¡Chau! Les quiero mucho,
babelfish: Chau! I want much to them

Life Rocks

March 9, 2009 (Life is great!)

¡Hola mi querida familia! ¿Cómo están todos?
babelfish: Hello my dear family! How they are all?

Voy a escribir este primer párafo en español para que Jacob pueda ver mis equivocaciones y corregirme cuando yo regrese de la mision. Entonces, Jacob, ¿cómo está la clase de español? ¿Estás aprendiendo mucho? Ojalá que yo tuviera una clase de español antes la misión, pero está bien. Estoy aprendiendo castellano acá en chile poco a poco. Pienso que paciencia sea la llave a la aprendizaje de un idioma, ¡especialmente para entender! Yo puedo hablar más o menos todo que quiero decir, pero ¿cómo puedes saber que decir si no puedes entender nada? Finalmente, despues casi 4 meses en chile, pienso que puedo entender más o menos todo. Todavía es difícil porque Chileno es diferente que español. Hay palabras como guácala (la cual significa asqueroso), ¿cachaí? (¿entiendes?). Tambien, la palabra para "estomago" es "guata" o "guatita" (casi todo es pequeño, con -ito o -ita al final), "guagua" es "bebé", "plata" es "dinero", "palta" es "aguacate", "arto" y "caleta" es "mucho", etc. Que bueno, ¿no? Todavía, es difícil para entender porque hay artas palabras como estas que no conozco. Pero, algún día, voy a hablar chileno, y en aquel día, ¡voy a SER chileno! ;)

babelfish: I am going to write this first párafo in Spanish so that Jacob can see my mistakes and correct to me when I return of the mission. Then, Jacob, how it is the Spanish class? You are learning much? Hopefully that I had a Spanish class before the mission, but it is well. I am learning Castilian here in Chile little by little. Fodder that patience is the key to the learning of a language, especially to understand! I can speak more or less everything that I mean, but how you can know how that to say if you cannot understand nothing? Finally, later almost 4 months in Chile, fodder that I can understand more or less everything. Still it is difficult because Chilean he is different that Spanish. There are words like guácala (which means revolting), cachaí? (you understand). Also, the word for " estomago" he is " guata" or " guatita" (almost everything is small, with - ito or - ita in the end), " guagua" he is " bebé" , " plata" he is " dinero" , " palta" he is " aguacate" , " arto" and " caleta" he is " mucho" , good etc. That, no? Still, it is difficult to understand because there is artas words like which I do not know. But, someday, I am going to speak Chilean, and in that one day, I am going TO BE Chilean! ;)

So, my family, how is everything going? Sorry there's no pictures this week. I don't have any new ones! But, there's an activity this afternoon, so perhaps next week I'll have some amazing pictures to show.

Life here in Chile is as great as ever. This week was a little difficult with regards to our numbers. We set over 35 appointments this week with members, investigators, and less-active members, and guess what? Only 11 of this appointments survived, even though we passed by every house that was on our list! But, it's all good. Our Heavenly Father has a way to test our faith and patience, and if we pass the test, we are blessed immensely. It's so true! I love being a missionary and seeing the many miracles that take place every day here in Chile.

Okay, here's some info about some of the investigators we have right now. We are teaching a youth named Matias. He is amazing, but his baptismal date has fallen through. He wants to feel more prepared for his baptism, but I don't know what's happening because he has stopped coming to church! We pass by his house every day, but it's like no one even lives there any more. It's disappointing, but we are doing all we can to keep Matias afloat. We are also trying to teach his family so he can have more support in his home, but it's even more impossible to find them home together.

We are also teaching a girl named Kimberlly. Before we started teaching her, she told us she didn't even believe in God. As we taught, she felt the spirit and her testimony has grown. Her brother, Jan, is one of our converts from the first month in the mission. The thing with Kimberlly is she has doubts about things more social than doctrinal. We are continuing to teach her and everything, but it's difficult to see progress because Kimberlly is not keeping her commitments! Every week she is sleeping and so can't attend church. We've had plenty of lessons to address these things, but it's not like we can force people to do anything. We'll just keep on inviting her and her family to learn more and receive this great joy in their lives. We'll see how it goes...

Last week, we met a young man named Kenny. He told us that he doesn't believe in God but that he wanted to believe. In these past couple of weeks, we have had the great privilege to see his testimony and knowledge blossom. He has the seed of faith planted in his heart, and so we're doing all we can to help him nourish it. He hasn't attended church with us yet, but we are hoping that he'll come this Sunday.

Of course, we meet with tons of people every week, and I wish I had time to tell all the stories that I have from specific lessons and everthing! But, there's just not enough time. But, here is the lesson to learn: when we put our Heavenly Father first in our lives (like the first commandment advises), He will provide for us, and all will be well. But we have to do our part! We've been meeting with a lot of less active members, and it's sad to see how ruined their lives have become because their priorities aren't in line. When we forget ourselves and just remember to fulfill our duties to God, our families, and our communities, all these things will be added to our good. What a great blessing!

Well, gotta go. Just to let you know, missionary service rocks! Keep on being amazing, my wonderful family! I love you so much!

Con mucho amor y cariño,
babelfish: By far love and affection

The amazing Elder Knackstedt

March 2, 2009 (More pancake sandwiches)

¡Hola, buenas tardes! How's life in the States going?

Here in Arica, we definitely have enough work to keep us busy! Right now, we are focusing on the less active members of the ward. We have been contacting them like crazy with the firm faith that fulfilling this part of our calling will lead to success with our investigators, and guess what? It's true! We had an amazing week with 7 new investigators, 15 new inactive members that we found, 13 lessons with members present, etc. It's a true miracle!

I love being a missionary here in Chile. It is amazing working with the lamanites in this desert land and seeing the promises of the Lord fulfilled.

Thank you so much for all the love and support! My companion Elder Knackstedt is amazing, and we are working like crazy to help out our ward.

I hope you know that all of your thoughts and prayers are much appreciated! Sorry I can't write too much this week; the internet here is acting up, and the computer is SO SLOW! It's running Windows, just in case you were wondering. ;) But, just to let you know, this week was amazing and filled with many miracles. One day, you'll have to read about it in my journal! I love being a missionary!

Thanks for everything! Know that you're always in my thoughts and prayers!