Friday, May 30, 2014

May 26th, 2014 "Life in the Dumps"

Wow seriously this week has gone by so fast that I feel like sometimes its not even real.   I did a lot this week and I have seriously done everything from cutting wood to crying.....not in the same day I promise. haha  But this week has been full of success but disappointments as well and big news guys.......I'M FREE OF THE FLEAS.....I think.

So what I really have to talk about is this place that is in my mission.  We have a ton of work to do in this place called Las Tomas.  This place is crazy weird and really dangerous because it is seriously the wild frontier.  You probably cant google earth this place because in the governments eyes it does not exist.  Really the translation for the Tomas is pretty much "for the takes"  It is government land that is pretty much free and anybody who wants to live here can.  It is the outskirts of town and full of trash.  I always knew that I lived in a poor part of Chile but never believed it until we really started to do work in this area.  The crazy thing is that the government lets these people live there and the houses are completely different then what we are used to.  For example they cook stuff on fires and boil the water for baths and this little girl in this picture hates getting bathed and its only about one time a week.  Crazy huh.  But because there is no street numbers or house numbers it is really a free-for all and houses pop up all the time and then get torn down.  Its not a new city but more of a addition so to speak.  Anyway to be honest with you guys I am a messy person.  Ask anybody in my house and they will say that I never clean my room, car, or dog for that matter but this place is utterly nasty.  Wait to you see the pictures!  People just throw everything in the streets and there are little gangs of dogs that are running around and cows and chickens and stuff.  Whats crazy is that the kids don't care.  They are running around and throwing diapers at each other and I have those moments where I wonder "where am I?"  But hey its the good ole South America and there are really good people down here who are ready for the Gospel.  What a influence they are because they try to make the most out of there circumstances.  So for that I give them props and I pray for them all the time because right now it is pretty cold down here and I seriously think that Chile has crazy weather like Utah! 

If you look in the background you will see the house of this little girl

Bueno, time to talk about the weather.  So it has absolutely poured and rained so hard from Tuesday to Wednesday and I have been thanking my mom so much for her umbrella she has given me and for her help in the jackets.  If I made those decisions I would not of brought those things.  But it rained and rained and it was really hard to contact so we did a lot of teaching menos actives (less active) and working with the people that the Lord provided and guess what!  Four more spirits accepted baptism!  That's so awesome and what a blessing they are to my life.  I pray that they will persevere to the end and I cant wait to see them baptized.  Two of the people are part of  a family.  One is Catalina.....remember her?  She is the one who is Rachel's age and she accepted but we lost contact with her for about three weeks and she needed to be re-taught but this time her mother accepted as well.  What a great experience to see a family brought together by the Gospel and it always makes me think of when I was with my family and the Gospel was the glue that held us together in times of hardship.  Their dad was a member but has not visited the church in about ten years and he says his goal is to go through the temple with his family! WHAAAAATTT??   Oh man they are seriously so golden and I was so spoiced, it was sweet!  

(Note from Liz:  I did not know what the word "spoiced" meant so I looked it up.  This is what I found:  

"Spoice is an exclamation of gratitude towards life. It's the proper word to use when you find yourself in a situation involving a multitude of positive things at once. You may only utter it with pure joy behind it. Derived from snowboarding culture by people living in dreamworld."  Sounds just like a word Logan would use!)

But hey what can you do after a lesson like that?  Pray and pray that they receive answers in there prayers.  The other is a older women named Angelica.  She visited church this week as well!  She loves the whole concept of eternal families as well and I seriously think she is gold.  She loves to talk and talk and talk and to be honest when she talks I lose contact and struggle to understand her gossip.  Her Spanish is horrible and even my comp says at some points he just nods his head and smiles hahah.  The other is this mother in the Tomas that accepted baptism but the date is not set for her. This week has been crazy and I love this mission life.  I am always tired but it is the best feeling ever and I'm all smiles.

So as far as my health is concerned I am doing better and I bought some medicine.  I still have some coughing problems but it is all good.  I don't have any new flea bites and they are all going away except for some that scared up so I have some battle wounds.  As for vitamins I don't think they exist down here but i will look.  I'm always cold and yes I hate to say it but I love scarfs......yep I said it.  This whole I love my comp thing is awesome but his personality is rubbing off on me because we could spend literally all day in a store looking for clothes "p day of course" haha  But he has to try all this stuff on and I just laugh at him.  But we like different stuff as well. but yes I wear scarfs all the time because I am always frozen! 

Overall this week has been great and I think I will be tired forever but the Lord helps me when I am with the members or in a lesson.  We also have a ward activity coming up and its karaoke......and they want a solo out of me...... watch out Chile! haha I love my family and especially my mom and dad.  Thank you guys for your prayers and please don't pray for me but pray for my investigators.  I can tough things out but they need all the help they can get. especially with answers to their prayers  I really want you guys to know that being a missionary is hard. I always thought that was a lie but it really is really hard on your body and on you spiritually.  But there is a person that can help us....our Savior.  He is our Savior for a reason. he saves us from our temptations, our fears, and our doubts.  I love you guys so much and I pray for you all the time.  Sorry Luke I could not write you man I love you dude and we need to be roommates for sure.  This is the place I'm supposed to be.  Don't worry about me.

I went crazy chopping wood and they all said look at that American go! 

The rich part of my sector.....

Life in the Dumps

Las Tomas

Just me!

Monday, May 19, 2014

May 19th, 2014

Hola! I guess this week has been great and the missionary work is coming along.  This week I learned a bunch of Spanish and I feel it coming together but to be honest I still feel lost sometimes but I cant help but smile when I have no clue whats going on. I have no idea why but to me its funny because I think of how I'm living in some country and all the people just think that because I live here I should already know the language! 

This week was really hard with the new investigators and we did so much work with the less active members and taught some crazy spiritual lessons.  The hills kick my butt and I always laugh when I reach the top and think of my mom when she is on the stair machine in my house and she says "gotta find the best deals at Target!"  That's her inspiration and it works for her, and mom believe me my inspiration is " I know a new investigator lives on the top of this hill or street!" and guess what? it works.  I love this work and believe me I will send pictures i promise.

Because this week has been really tough it has also been a time of soul searching and pushing through the darkness to find the light. I read a lot of scriptures and talked to a lot of people.  It has not been a super terrible week but I'm used to all the success we have been having especially with finding new members.  But we press on and we did a ton of work with the less active members and it felt good to see some of them visit church!  One story I have was a less active lady who has this dog "of course right" and seriously she says its dances for money. hahahahahaah  We asked how and I was thinking that this lady has seriously lost her mind because she has tons of those Asian cat things that wave its paw back and forth and their eyes move.....kinda creepy right.  We asked how and she said all you do is clap and sure enough my companion starts clapping and the dog stands up on two legs and starts jumping around.  So maybe there is hope for dogs in this world and I laughed so hard and it was a moment where I realized how much I love life.  She also had this one with little rasta dreads that looks like a mop that jumped on my lap and I seriously felt fleas jumping on me.  Not really, that was a exaggeration, but I flipped and stood up way fast.  Along the lines of fleas I am clean!  Washing your clothes in raid and persevering to the end works!  Oh and faith as well.  All my bites are going away or scarring up and I feel so blessed when I can sleep in peace.  Thank you for all your prayers and all your love.  It really has helped me and I feel your love.

We had a zone conference this week and I felt the spirit really strong and I heard a ton of stuff through the peoples testimonies and I want to share it with you.  One elder has been out a long time and has one or two transfers left and got up and gave a humble testimony of "where is your heart"   He said that you need to have your heart in the work and you have to give your heart to the person in order to feel their needs and for them to feel your love.  This was an answer to my prayers because I sometimes have problems staying concentrated especially when I have no idea whats going on and I start to think about skiing and powder days and then I get even more confused.  It only happens every once in awhile but it concerns me and I feel super bad about it and get mad at myself for not trying hard enough.  So I need to give my heart.  When I fade away I have my heart on something else and not the investigator and their needs.  It really helped me a ton and I have been doing so much better and I have to say that it has blessed my life already.  Its true I miss my friends and I miss my family and all the fun things I did before the mission but that stuff is not important because my spiritual brothers and sisters are struggling and I need to do everything in my power to help them.  I love this work. 

So this week was really hard right?  And I know it gets really hard when my comp goes silent and he gets down and so I decided to take matters into my own hands.  True kids, don't try this at home but my friends used to do this thing that when bad things happen we would right them on a piece of paper and burn it and then its in the past forever.  Trust me I have burnt a ton of math tests before my parents have seen them and so forth haha  So we had this huge piece of paper and seriously wrote tons of stuff on it and burned it down.  I have pictures.  I love you all and thank you for your influences in my life

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

May 12th, 2014

Wow today I have a ton of emotions running through my head about my family but especially about missionaries.  Thank you all for all your prayers and advice because I really take them to heart.  Bueno, are you ready to hear my past week?  Tons of stories and experiences, lets begin.

The first story starts on Monday, I experienced the hardest day of my life both physically and emotionally.  To start the day we got ready and I was feeling really sick "turns out i have a cold".  But who cares right?  I'm in South America and stuff like this can kill a person down here. haha just kidding  But I'm not going back to that hospital We went and bought all this medicine that my comp said should help but really we have no idea if its working or not because some days it helps and others I swear it makes things so much worse.  Besides taking weird pills that look like skittles and tastes like skittles I got Dear Johned.   Ya...not even two months in.  I seriously owe some serious money to some people. But that was rough because my comp said "Brooke" for the next week and it was so dumb but by the end of the week whenever I was feeling down or just quiet right before bed he says "Brooooooke" and then we both start laughing so hard and I feel like I'm about to cry from laughter.  So its not to bad and in fact it has helped me on my mission. So ha! Take that girls!

Anyway just to let you guys know my comp uses a straight iron for his hair!  And the best part is that he was trying to keep it a secret forever and I found the actual iron when I was cleaning but the words where in Spanish and I had no idea what it was obviously because I am a guy and have seen an iron maybe once in my life.  I thought it was some kind of iron for clothes or something or maybe a paper unwrinkler or something because my comp is a neat freak.  One day I caught him using it and I laughed and laughed because it all made sense!  I was wondering how my comp gets his hair so perfect. haha.  What a experience he told me to give him some privacy because he did not want to burn himself, so whoever uses an iron out there I have one in my apartment and it is pretty cool.

I have told you guys about how I have been talking in my sleep in Spanish and about my dreams in Spanish where I don't understand half of it right?  My comp is the same way and some weird stuff has been happening and I swear that we are doing some night walking.  One day the phone was in my bed and normally its on the charger in the other room.  That was weird because we have no idea how it got there and the other day when my comp went in to take a shower a pair of my socks and his were in the shower wet..........twilight zone hahaha so I'm starting to get freaked out when I wake up with extra blankets and such but I will keep you guys posted on my "night life"

This week was really challenging for me.  My Spanish is getting better but the lessons were scarce and I felt like a hungry dog without a bone.  I can honestly say that Monday night we had zero people talk us and we had everything you could imagine slammed in our face:   doors, windows, car doors, everything!  But we kept teaching and things are looking up I promise.  We are working hard with Catalina but she did not come to church because it was Mothers day so therefore it got moved back farther to the First of June for her baptismal date. It was so sad to hear her cancel and I was bummed so I tried to kick something but it hurt my leg and a dog freaked out so we went running for our lives.  We have been teaching a lady named Patricia who is searching for baptism and I'm so hopping she feels the spirit.  She has these two little girls though that wont stop speaking in Spanish and i swear if you think little kids who are annoying wait till you hear them inn Spanish!  But thy are learning a ton and they are ultimately a good influence on their mother.  They think its funny how I have green eyes and I guess part of my eyes are gold or yellow because they ask if I was a vampire before my mission......and its because I'm super white.  They laugh so hard when I walk in and scream "GHOST!!!"  Who would of thought that two seven and five year old girls can trash my self esteem that fast.  It's chill and I love them.  I found out why I am here on a mission and its because I love to hear a persons first prayer.  Not a pray that's memorized but a prayer that is them sincerely trying to talk to God and I know that God hears and answers their prayers everyday.  God loves his children and he will do everything to get them back. 

I tried telling my first joke again at lunch.  Here it goes.  An owl lived in Chile super long ago an he was the only living thing in Chile, he loved to talk but knew only one word, quien, hahahahahahaha for those who know spanish quien is "who" well turns out I forgot the most important thing about jokes.  People need to understand them. Oh well my comp thought it was really funny and asks me to tell every family.

One more thing.  It was my comps anniversary when he as baptised on the sixth of May and I bought him this cake and juice and we stuck matches in it and I sang Happy Birthday to him and man I'm telling you I can belt like Johnny Cash!  It was way great and in my mind I guess I sound good but really its like a cat got shot or my coonhounds.  I love you all so much and thank you for your love.  To answer some questions, people have all sorts of jobs but I know a lot of sailors and construction workers who work really hard then drink in the night.  The women work as well but mostly for cleaning places.

This is a picture of me with my companion and mission president:

Monday, May 5, 2014

May 5th, 2014

Hello from Chile! Life in Quilpue is the bomb but it really has its ups and downs though.  I feel like life is crazy and it moves so fast.  Who would of thought that time could fly so fast and i'm just trying to hold on for the ride.   My two month mark is coming up fast and I already have the best memories I could possibly have!  And guess what! first baptism!  It was so scary and I was so nervous.  I'm really bad at memorizing stuff and I needed to have the baptisim prayer memorized and I was way nervous.  I cant believe Elias wanted me to baptize him and it was such a spiritual experience and it really built my testimony so strong.  I can now email in spanish to all my spanish companions and it is really cool.  The people here are so nice and they do anything to help members. especially the struggling ones.  All I feel like doing is service and bringing more people into the church.  Man this this the greatest time of my life.  Things are really hard but also the plan is simple.  We need to meet people and share the gospel and bring people into the fold.  We also need to help those around us that have been baptized and that are not currently attending church.  

This is so crazy but this week was a real eye opener.  We had a really hard time with the members and the people in the street have no desire to talk to us.....they also know swear words in me I know.  We have had appointments fall through and it has sucked but I have found a new testimony in persevering to the end. It works because we work so hard and get rejected all day but in the end we find a person who is a diamond and it works out just perfectly.  I have had some nights where I have cried myself to sleep because I cant believe some people and how they are so stuck in their ways but I fear no man!  I will press forward in love for the persons and god will deliver the right ones who are ready for the gospel

Well first thing is that I always get asked these crazy questions because I'm American.  The first question that I received this week was why my eyes are green. hmmmmmmm  I have no idea haha and it was hard to explain because at first I thought it was a joke and i laughed super hard and loud but she said she was serious..... so then I tried to explain how everyone is different.   She laughed and said well everyone here has brown eyes. hmmmmm cant argue with that hahaha but the other part to her question was does the light hurt my eyes..... again another question that was hard to answer but what can you do. 
We have had tons of lessons and I hope they are planting into a their souls.  After being shut down literally all day long my comp and I where talking about how every soul still is a son and daughter of god.  Whoever reads this I hope that if your learn one thing from reading this is that every person is a son or daughter of God and that  if we have people in our lives that are just straight up weenies that we should always treat them with love and respect.  We talked about this for a good ten minutes and we stopped to talk to this guy sitting in the street and he chewed us out and threw his trash at us and as we where walking away we heard it.... a soft voice that called us from the inside of a fence.  We looked and we met a wonderful lady by the name of Maria.  Maria saw what happened and asked why we continue to do work when things go wrong and we told her that our message was worth telling no matter the result and she asked and she received haha!  We spent a long time talking to her about the Book of Mormon and prophets and the real power of god.  She was so interested and we have an appointment with her this week.  I hope that everything goes well.  This really is the best time of my life and I love the feeling of being so tired all the time and I hope that I am doing everything right!  Thank you guys for all your prayers.  I really do need the help and I feel your prayers, especially with the language.
Something new that happened this week was that I now have dreams in spanish!  I don't know if there good dreams or nightmares because like real life I understand little and other words are just a blur.   But it always has my comp in them and we are either teaching a lesson or we are contacting personas in the street.  Its crazy!  But here is the best part, my comp says that I started to talk in my sleep but in spanish! haha way weird right?  He said at first he was way confused because he said it was perfect spanish.  He then asked what was wrong and I said something else and rolled over and fell back asleep.  Wow that's gnarly huh haha.  I love all my experiences down here and it is so awesome that God helps us with everything.
Now time for the best part of my week.  Baptism!  I love Elias and trust me pics are on the way!  But the thing is that the other members in the ward showed up for his baptism because there was no family present for his baptism.  I immediately felt the love so strong and its crazy that they do stuff like that.  After the messages and other talks we went to the font and the water was cold because the church ran out of gas, it was so freezing cold and I was shaking because I was nervous and because it was cold.  I helped Elias down and helped him into position and this was what i said...... Elias Piña Arreldondo, habiendo sido comisionado por JesusCristo yo te bautizo en el nombre del padre, y del hijo, y del espiritu santo, amen.  And then I baptized him!  He came up with a huge smile on his face and coughing.  He gave me a huge hug and as we where changing he was telling me how he felt super cold but clean......I love it so much and I hope that  he always has that feeling.  As we were walking back to the room he was dancing and called his daughter and said how he was clean.  I have never seen a smile so big. 

Last thing is that my comp is starting to get sick and it is pretty freaky because I always want to work, and the fleas are still a problem but it is better to live with it then always be scratching and fighting it.  Trust me I'm doing everything I can for them.   And yes mom i,m wearing my retainers....... oh plus my comp makes me put on sunscreen from this industrial sized jug haha.  I also did service this week, I will send you pics.  The picture of the blankets are us trying to get rid of fleas.  It is a full time job.