Monday, July 13, 2009

My fat diary

July 11, 2009 (root beer floats, hamburgers, fries, onion rings, cookies, etc)

The work has been going really well for us here in Antofagasta. I think one of the greatest blessings is counsel that we recieved from our Area Presidency in regards to working with the less active members. We are now spreading a letter that was written by our area presidency that is called "Permaneced." As we've read from this letter and shared with lots of less active members in our ward, we've really seen miracles! I'm going to attach the letter, if you want to translate it and read it, because it really is amazing. Jacob, I'm sure this will be some good reading to help you learn Spanish! :)

For the 4th of July, we had a little party with all the office missionaries (me, Elder Brandau, Elder Hansen, the APs Elder Galli and Elder Shirley, and Elder and Sister Steed). We ate root beer floats and had hamburgers, fries, onion rings, cookies, etc. Then, we watched "Back to the Future." (We are the ones who have to approve movies for the mission to watch each transfer). It was really fun. I have some pictures, but I forgot to bring my camera to the office today so I can't send any -- Sorry! I'll send them next week. :) It was funny because Elder Galli is super Argentine and looked pretty awkward with all the decorations from the states. But, Elder Brandau, from Santiago, seemed just like at home. He told me that he just changes his nationality to fit in with the mayority. He says that he'll be Argentine on Argentina's independence day.

On the 6th, we also had a little activity playing soccer with our mission president and some other members. I've decided that I'm no good, but I knew that before I left for the mission. Still, it's pretty fun. :)

Well, that's pretty much it. The work is still going really well, and we're seeing tons of miracles. I wish I could share more with you, but I really don't have too much time to email! I want to write more by hand, but that is also pretty tough to do with the limited time on P-Day. Please forgive me! You can read my missionary journal when I come home (which means you'll still have to wait more than a year). There're some pretty good stories in there.

Well, that's pretty much it for now. I love you all so much! Thanks for all that you are doing at home; keep being amazing.

I'm getting Fat

July 4th, 2009 (Independence Day)

Just a little note to say that all is well here in Antofagasta. The weather is great, I still haven't seen rain in the mission, and there is plenty of work to do. This week, I have been working like crazy in the office because we are changing our entire system to pay all the mamitas, rent, etc. The crazy thing is that I can actually do it, even though it's all in Spanish! Whoa, how loco is that? :)

I'm sending some pictures of me at my desk with some money, the Borne Identity shot, and my companion Elder Brandau. How fun, eh? :)

Here in the office, there is a couple missionary who likes to spoil us: Elder and Sister Steed. They don't speak too much Spanish, so we do all the translating, and in turn, they give us huge amounts of food! The other day, Elder Steed bought me and my companions McDonalds: 3 Big and Tastys a piece! And the best part of it is that we ate it all. MMmmmm... Today, for the 4th of July, we're going to have an American Barbeque in their apartment (which is right above our apartment, in the Yacht Club of Antofagasta). I'm pretty excited!

We've been working hard in our sector also. It's true that here in Chile, our work is mostly aimed towards the less active/inactive members of the church. This trimester, we are focusing once again on re-activation. But, that doesn't mean we're not going to baptize! In my past ward, two of my investigators are getting baptized. My past companion, Elder Rivas, is going to send me some photos, and then I'll send them to you. It is always amazing to see the changes in the lives of the people here in Chile. I really do love serving as a missionary.

Well, the life is great. I'm loving every minute as a missionary. Ahora, tengo que pensar en espaƱol para trabajar otra vez. Les quiero mucho, y ¡nos vemos en 15,5 meses!

Saturday is my new P-day

June 27, 2009 (New P-day)

First of all, here in the office with my companions and the APs, we have P-day on Monday and Saturday, each half the day. I guess we write to our families each Saturday, so I'll start writing only on Saturdays from now on! Crazy, huh?

Thank you so much for the package! It came into the office yesterday, and so I had to have an early celebration. I've been working hard to solve the rubiks cube, but I'm not sure I'm smart enough. It's pretty tough... Jacob, you'll have to teach me when I get home! I'll be practicing, but still I don't think that it'll be enough. :) And the ties are amazing! I had a bunch of missionary friends trying to take them from me yesterday while we were waiting for their bus. I just gave them wasabi beans instead, and they almost cried because they'd never eaten wasabi before. I thought it was pretty funny.

Wow, this week has been pretty crazy. Since it's the first week of transfers, I had to do all the computer work for the missionaries coming in and leaving, as well as training sessions for the new missionaries and then the Zone leaders. Also, we had all the leaving missionaries in our apartment, and then all the zone leaders stayed in our apartment, and it's pretty crazy. There's tons that I have to learn and do, but I really do love learning, especially things like financing because I don't know much and it'll be really useful in the future!

To answer some of Jacob's questions: As the financer of the mission, I have to take care of all the money affairs. I have to pay bills, set up automatic deposit accounts for the mamitas and the missionaries, give reimbursement money to the zone leaders, etc., etc. Mostly, I sit in an office in the morning and a little into the afternoon, working hard to make sure all that we use the mission funds correctly. It's pretty crazy, and there's tons I have to learn, not to mention I have to learn it in Spanish!

But, it doesn't come without advantages. As I sit a good portion of the day, and Hermana Urra (the mission president's wife) likes to cook, I'm gonna get pretty big here in the mission and might make my goal of 300lbs. I also get to drive, so I'll learn how to manage the chilean roads. And, my cell phone can call to anyone with unlimited minutes. I thought that was pretty neat, especially since I didn't even have a cell phone before the mission.

Also, my sector is in the center of Antofagasta. We are working hard to help the people come unto Christ, and I am excited to help my new sector grow. There are now 5 missionaries in our ward, including 2 sister missionaries.

Living in the mission home

June 23 2009 (Investigator's Dream)

Sorry that I'm so late in writing this week. We had a true week of miracles last week. One of the craziest is, after entering in a house and finding a family who was ready to receive the gospel, one of the ladies in the house started to tell us about some dreams that she's had. I'm telling you, everyone here in Chile has the craziest dreams ever! In one, she told us that she was in a really dirty river and that everything was dark. There were other people in the river with her. She looked in the distance and saw a whole bunch of people on a really narrow path walking forward. They were in the light and heading for an even greater light. This lady wanted to get out of the water and get on the path but she didn't know how. Can you say Lehi's dream? :) It's really crazy to understand, speak, and help all the people find faith in Christ, even through interpreting their dreams!

On Sunday, after church, President Urra called me and my companion. I was thinking: Oh no, I hope we didn't do anything too bad! President Urra asked to speak to me, and he told me that I had my first assignment in the mission: the financial secretary. I accepted, so on Monday I spent all day traveling to the mission office in Antofagasta! The only sad part is that we were going to have a baptism in my other sectore this Saturday, but it's okay. I think the real miracle of the mission is being able to teach with the spirit and see a great change in the lives of the people. I love being a missionary!

I really like my new sector. And, it's great to be the financial secretary, difficult and tons of work, but great. I have a lot of responsibilities and have to pay tons of bills and manage all of the money of the mission, and my head really hurts right now after a full day of training (in Spanish!), but it doesn't come without advantages! Look at the pictures -- the mission office apartment is on the 12th floor of a nice complex and overlooks the ocean. My companions are amazing: Elder Brandau (the secretary of Pdte. Urra from Santiago, Chile) and Elder Hansen (my financial trainer from Las Vegas). This transfer is going to be really tough, especially with so many responsibilities, but I know that Heavenly Father will help me as I strive to serve him. And, I have some of the greatest leaders here in the mission! :)

I'm also sending a picture of my past companion, Elder Rivas, who I will miss a lot. We had some great conversations, and it was one of the greatest transfers to learn, develop my teaching skills, and gain a great friend. However, I have learned that whenever we become a bit comfortable with where we are, we are given more tests and trials to prove our faith and pacience. Should be fun! ;)

Well, I guess that's it for now. It's 9:45 pm in the mission office at my desk (crazy!), and I gotta walk back to the apartment with my new companions. I love you all so much! Take care!

Mission Financial Secretary

Transferred (June 23, 2009)

Sorry I didn't write yesterday! I was travelling all day on a bus to my new sector: Antofagasta. I've been assigned as the new financial secretary for the mission. I'll try to write more and send some pictures this afternoon!