Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bob Esponja

Hola muchachos,

Did you know Spongebob was called Bob Esponja in spanish? People love him down here. The funny thing is I love him down here too. Not that I watch it, but my love for Spongebob has been carried with me from one country to the next.
This week was a good week, and we are beginning another change week which I feel much more prepared for this time around. We found out changes yesterday whcih is always good fun, and President and Sister Brough invited us over for breakfast this morning to talk about a few organizational things we needed to talk about. I ate 4 pieces of bacon, 4 more pieces of bacon than I have eaten with a breakfast in a long time. It was good time. So we are preparing for that and getting all the transportation together for the next week with all the new missionaries and the missionaries that are going home or the "baggies" as the mission lingo calls them.
In this week we have been able to see some progress. I would like to share something we have seen with a less active member named Roberto as nothing significant has happened with Jose, he continues going to church, but he continues to have strange ideas and doesn´t want to set a date for baptism. It has been amazing to see the progress with Roberto. We have been visting him for about a month and it was "well we have nothing else to do visit" because so many missionaries had tried with Roberto. Elder Lydiksen told me he was essentially a lost cause and couldn´t stop drinking. We visited him and didn´t hink much about it.
When Elder Cruz came and a cita fell through that we had around his house I thought I would give another try. We taught something to Roberto and he expressed a strong desire to come back to church but he thought it was too difficult. We had finally found something to work with. In the next few lessons we started to talk about why he was baptized and what his desires were for his future. He expressed a strong desire to go to the temple, something that kind of threw us for a loop. This man who we had found drunk in the street 3 days before had a desire to go the temple. We went from there and started trying to get him to go to church promising him that as he did his part and occupied his time with good things, he would be able to get over drinking. 2 Sundays ago he finally went. He was incredibly nervous because he had been away for so long and stuck to the missionaries (even thouhg everyone in the ward was incredibly happy to see him) and from there everything has changed. We visited him that very afternoon and found him reading his scriptures (with his shirt off with his fat guatemalan belly hanging out, very typical of older men here). We asked him how church was and he said ti was great. He talked to us of how he had never recieved the second priesthood and really wanted to by this October. He said he felt the need to change his work as that was what was cuasing him to drink a lot. The very next day he went out in search of a new job and much to his surprise within 2 days he had found work that had a set schedule, and now he feels such little temptation. It is always humbling to see what real repentance his. Someone changing his mindset and attitude to be closer to God. He seems so much happier and has a hope now that he is returning to church. It is too bad hiswfie doesn´t want to. Anyways that has really impressed me in the last 2 weeks and I thought you would like to hear about it.
I´m doing well, and I hope everyone else is doing well back on the homefront. Take care and have a great week.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

September 7, 2011 Email - it's what you do!

Hello everybody,

I don´t have to much to write this week, but Mom I would like to tell you that I got my package and it was amazing. Thank you everybody! I really like getting new pictures. Don´t take this the wrong way, but chubby babies with their shirts off are cute. Will looks like he is such a happy baby and Ioved seeing everybody together. The whole family looks super skinny, especially Brad. Keep up the good work and don´t make fun of me if I´m fat when I get back. Other than that my companion and I loved the candy and the book of course was as good as the first time. You all think frequently and that means a lot. Anyways to answer Mom´s 2 questions Jose is 37 and Alba´s daughter is just mean, she is short-tempered, yells, and just complains all the time. I wish she could turn around because it doesn´t look as if she will be leaving the house anytime soon.
Anyway this week has been great. We are finally finding a balance of work in the office and in the area. Last week both of the companionships in the office had 17 lessons which is unheard of. All it took was a lot of fighting to keep on schedule and some changes in organization thanks to a new President. It is never the same as having your own area, but it is great to see things improving. We are working and seeing things moving along in the area. Before we would stay late at night so we could have a free Saturday, but as President correctly guessed it is much more efficient to just leave at 3:30 everyday and go in Saturday morning if we absolutely need to. We have been having a lot of lessons and we are seeing some progress so that is gratifying.
We have also been working a lot with the english of Elder Cruz. It always make me laugh when he speaks in spanish in the house (against the new only english in the house rule) and we say "what? sorry we only speak english" and he says "awhh, come on guys" but in his latin accent. He always says whaaaaat!? and it never fails to make me laugh. It might not sound that funny but you just need to hear him. His english is improving, but he gets frustrated and impatient, the reason why most latins fail to learn english on their mission. It is a good opportunity because we are basically making him learn. He´s a good sport though so it all works out. I´m also trying to push him here in the office. He is a very inteligent personso he can work and do what you tell him to, but I´m slightly worried about when I leave because organizing and figuring out the most efficient way to do things is very foreign to him just because of the background he comes from. President told me to put him in charge next change (my last change) of basically everything so
I´m trying to explain everything so he can do the calendar, schedule, etc. and not need me to tell him what to do.
Other than that, we just have Jose. Jose has proved to have some strange ideas. He has "recieved dreams" telling him that he needs to fix the corruption in the churches. He recognizes the need for change but he somehow thinks he has been called to do it. First time I´ve seen that in Guatemala among many of the the interesting things I´ve seen. We have had some very direct lessons with him and I think we have helped him to see that God has already called his representative here on the earth to keep the order of his church, and that all of that falls back on the fact that Joseph Smith was a prophet, which the Book of Mormon is evidence of. He still wants to go to church and says he knows the Book of Mormon of true but due to his interesting ideas he has a hard time accepting Joseph Smith. I think he will progress if we continue to be clear and control his rants.
Well I love this church and know that it´s true. I love the people it has given me the chance to meet, and this incredible experience that it has allowed me to have. I hope everyone has a great week.

August 31, 2011 - A Good Week!

Hello family,

I´m just writing you collectively today so you don´t have to wait until tomorrow and I will write a few lucky individuals tomorrow. Deal? Deal. I will ever take advantage of the fact that someone cannot say no to a deal in an email. A downside of progressing technology (not as practical in a text). Anyways I am very excited to hear about Dad´s new calling, he will do a fantastic job, I know it. It is absolutely crazy that the girls have started their last school year before I get home. I´m getting old.
Anyway, I have a few things to let you know about. Do you remember one of my best converts Jorge? He is putting his his mission papers together! I have talked with the elders that have served in that area since and they have told me is so devoted and an example to most of the members. He gets to church early, goes to seminary AND institute, and is really taking everything in the church very seriously. I think to him it is almost a blessing not to have the support of his family because he completely believes in what the church leaders say and doesn´t fall into many of the family traditions that you often see in Guatemala that aren´t necessarily the worst things you could do, but they are small things that you wish the culture could get out of. He has talked in church, blesses the sacrement, and is very excited to go on his mission. Alba also wrote me and it made me really happy to know that she (a guatemalan widow who can´t sing a note) is in the ward choir and that she is very involved in the relief society. It is funny because she asked me to come to the ward conference to hear her sing, she is hard of memory and can´t remember that I told her I won´t be able to visit in these 2 years. She sad "I´m paying my tithing because God gives me life and my health and that makes me happy." It is sad because she wrote me asking me for a way to be able to leave on a mission when she hits a year (I don´t know how she got this idea) because her daughter is so cruel to her. She is old and can´t understand that I don´t have administative power in the church, but I hope her daughter really lets up on her. Also the Vasquez Family that I found on divisions with my District Leader contacting in Linda Vista (the ones where I felt strongly that they would be baptized, sorry if you don´t remember) have gone to church and are slowly but surely progressing. It is so gratifying to see the progress of the areas I left behind, I´m glad the Lord has put (or left, in the case of Elder Sarita) great missionaries in those areas so that everything can keep going well. I thought you would like to know that Elder Sarita is now training a north american, which made me happier than any other change I saw in the mission. He has by far been my favorite companion; I have so much respect for him because he is so humble and an all around incredible person. It is funny that he is training a gringo though because considerig the fact that it was hard for me to understand his Dominican Republic Spanish with 10 months in my mission, it will be a struggle with his new companion. I gave him one piece of advice for his time as a trainer in the change meeting, "Elder Sarita, solamente tengo un consejo, hable despacio." This means "Elder Sarita, I have some advice, talk slow." He laughed and agreed to do so. He´ll do a great job as a trainer.
As for my current area, Jose went to church! We are very excited about that fact. We have come to find that he has some strange ideas though with regards to recieving an answer that these things are true. He always goes back to dreams he has had in his life and what he thinks they mean which results in us redirecting him to the basic doctrines of the Book of Mormon, baptism, and a knowledge of Joseph Smith as the Prophet of the Restoration. When we can talk about these things he agrees, but we can tell he is thinking about something else. We have decided he doesn´t really understand the Book of Mormon and the importance it has in recieving an answer about the truthfulness of what we teach. We will for sure be going over that before we move on. The good thing is that he likes church (which is good especially since some things I see and hear make me cringe when I have investigators with me), and he says he will be coming every week. We are really trying to work members more and we have 3 or 4 references that the members are inviting to church, a lesson in their house, or something like that so we hope we´ll find some people through the members in this coming week.
So I´m loving being a missionary, hearing progress of people and seeing the results of my work from times when maybe I thought everything wasn´t going that well is really rewarding. I´m trying to work hard, and even though President has gotten after me a lot for a few little miscommunications in this week I´m doing just swell haha. I hope everyone is doing great.

August 17, 2011

My beloved parents and siblings,

I am writing you once again with another week under my belt in this great guatastic adventure of mine, and I am happy to say that I´m happily chugging along, admiring the occasional think latin mustache as I go about my daily duties. This week was a good week as Elder Cruz and I have gotten used to the big changes in the office and in the area. Elder Cruz is a fantastic teacher and that makes all the difference in the missionary work. I have found that he likes to talk about video games A LOT which can be slightly distracting but I have learned to just deftly dodge the comment and mention something else. Life is good.
In this last week before Sunday I had actually been slightly disappointed with the work in the area. It had been a struggle to find progressing investigators and I was worried about if we were neglecting the work because of office work. I had been thinking about that a lot and had been really trying to work harder in the time that we were in the area to make a difference. Sunday we had an incredible experience that made me think I just need to be a little patient. We are teaching someone named José , someone that we just contacted because he was playing cards with some of the teenagers from the ward near their house. This was 2 weeks ago. He invited us in and we started to talk to him. Over the course of the last 2 weeks we have found that he really has been lacking a relationship with God in his life. He told us that he just feels empty sometimes and that he feels distanced from God. He said he has tried going to churches but he has just seeing hypocrites and power hungry people (these are his words not what I think every other church is made up of mind you). After the first lesson he read from 1st Nephi 1 to 13. This last Sunday we came in and he started telling us how much sense the vision of Lehi made sense. He said that he needed this iron rod so that he could have the truth. He said that he feels the book is true but that he wants to go to church to really see how it is, a request that as missionaries, turned us into 10 year olds waking up to a snow day. 10 year olds? I still had that reaction when I was 18 I don´t know what I´m talking about. ANYWAY, he said that he really does feel as if he needs something more and that he will get baptized if he starts to feel that this is true, which he said he has felt, but not a certain confirmation yet. I´m very excited about him, and we are hoping he comes to church this Sunday.
Also I just got out of my interviews with President. He is a really impressive person. He gave me some interesting insights into how we as human beings can only do our best and we need to look to God to forgive our weaknesses. He also told me that we need to analyze every criticism were given and decide if it something we want to change. He said in his professional life he has often been criticized for being to trusting, something he feels is a part of him and he has conciously decided not to change that, because he feels it is a part of him to trust and give others the benefit of the doubt. He said this has hurt him, but also blessed him in his life. He said we need to figure out who we are and be careful with which criticism we accept and apply. He said we obviously need to to change things that are disobediance or inconsistent with gospel teachings, but that God has made us how we are for a reason and we need to recognize that and try to be the best person we can be, not looking to be somebody else. It was very uplifting and it really struck home with me.
Anyway I´m happy and I´m learning a lot. I love you all and hope you have a great day. I love you!

August 23, 2011

Hey family,

To answer Mom´s many questions I will give you a run down of the office schedule. We wake up in the morning go running (Elder Petersen and I), eat, shower, start studying at 8:00 and leave for the office at 8:30 in our truck (it is a Hilux, not allowed in the States, very fun to drive especially when we are on the road at 4 in the morning and no one is on the road, don´t worry I keep it safe). We get to the office start to work until lunch time and sometimes call in lunch, other times go to a Guatemalan cafeteria or comedor as they are called. Very delicious if you have lived in Guatemala for a year. Quite coincedentally I´ve done just that. We then leave the office at 3:30 or 4:00 to work and we don´t have dinner until night time where I usually eat a peanut butter and honey (jelly if I want to change things up) sandwhich with only one piece of bread. Toasted. It is very good. So that is a little run down of the schedule for you, hope you enjoy.
This week has been a test and a reward of patience the same time. I have grown up with the idea that hard work and good intentions bring results, a mentality that sometimes lacks a little of the patience that I am here to learn. As you know, I have been working hard with Elder Cruz to find investigators and help the investigators that we have progress. What we have ran into is people dropping us due to talking with their pastor, not wanting to go to church, not wanting to hear us in the first place, etc. (I might note that every time we are denied in a contact Elder Cruz starts singing the song raindrops keep falling on my head which he learned from Spiderman 2, it makes me laugh everytime). Anyway we talked about it a lot and have just been able to figure out what we are doing wrong. Right as I feel I am becoming the best teacher that I have been in my mission, with the result that I feel I know better how to help investigators, there aren´t any investigators to apply this to. As is usual with me, I started worry about what was going on in the area too much, instead of focusing on what the Lord really has blessed us with. The realization came to me in this week that sometimes we are going to be doing our best, and things will not go the way we expect. This is when we need to exercise patience, knowing that we can only do our best and the Lord will do the rest, in His time. I really think I was being slightly selfish in how I was expecting things to fall into my lap. I really just needed to look at what the Lord had given me and be grateful for that, always working harder to see what more is in store, but accepting the fact that if it doesn´t come I just need to wait. It really has been a good experience allowing me to see that in my mission I have had the experience to see so much change in people, something I´m so grateful for having seen.
Anyway after having a struggle this last week, we were counting on José coming to church. He didn´t show. He left his house in the morning and wasn´t there. We were devastated. Something in the lesson we had last night though was incredible and we found out why he didn´t go. First off José felt terrible after he had promised us that he was going to go. We started to ask him about why he didn´t go. He started out nervously telling us that he didn´t have any nice shoes and so he had gone to buy a pair that morning because he didn´t want to go in tennis shoes. We could tell there was something else. After a few questions, he started to tell us in a shaky voice that he doesn´t feel worthy right now to go to church. He said he has been looking for the truth for so long and that he feels as if he has found it, he feels unworthy to go. I can´t go into any detail due to the request of the missionary department and some things they sent out about confidentiality, but he has a big weight on his shoulders that he has not been able to get off for years due to something he has not been able to stop doing. We had an incredible talk about repentence and how somebody truly can change their life if they are willing to do so. Something clicked. He told us he felt hope now, that he could really do this. He promised us he would go to church this Sunday. He said he wants nothing more than to get rid of the guilt he feels. He said he just wants to feel clean again. I think I truly do take for granted the knowledge that I have of this gospel, and the atonement of Jesus Christ. The light we saw in him was incredible when he was able to have that spark of hope. He knows it will be hard, he knows it is going to take time, but he is a very humble man and trusted us enough to share these things, showing us that it doesn´t matter where he is, he can change if he really is willing to do so. I hope that in a month or two I come to find that he is part of the reason I have been working in this area for this time. Maybe everything is going how one would hope a year into his mission, but I am happy that I have the chance to work with José who I know really can change if he continues with the attitude he currently has.
Anyway I hope everything is well. Thank you everybody for always supporting me and making sure to write me frequently. I love you and hope that all is going well. Mom thanks but I´m fine with what I can buy here, I would love a few current photos of the family printed off and put in there if you could. I guess I could take the time to print them but itjust so much cooler to recieve them in a package.

August 11, 2011...The craziest week of my life for real!

Hey family,

I am rushing to write you something because there is so little time so sorry about the probably not that good of a letter, but I didn´t want to wait until Friday again to write you. This week was change week and Mom you are right, I do have my new companion and he is great. He feels like he is in over his head and doesn´t know why he was picked, but he will learn quickly I can tell. He is bright and will do a good job. I on the other hand am extremely tired but happy that the hard part of the week is finally over. I haven´t woken up after 5:30 for the last 3 days and it is catching up to me. Today I woke up at 3:30 to take some missionaries to the airport. In light of all that I´m trying to catch up on all the work that I missed because we were out and about with the new missionaries and the missionaries that are going home. Mom and Dad you are right, it is slightly more stressful now that I am on my own, but I´m really trying to organize the secretary job with the time that I have because there are so many things that are unorganized. I hope will be able to make everything more simple for Elder Cruz by the time I leave, but we will see how it goes because President is really pushing that the office elders have a lot of baptisms as well as better organization so it is a lot to handle because more time in one thing obviously means less time in another, and these last few days we´ve barely been in the area.
I´m sure you all want to know a bit about Elder Cruz. He is my second companion named Elder Cruz and he is also from Honduras. He is a really funny elder who is here to work hard. He feels really out of place (as I did) because he feels like he should just be out working, finding, contacting, etc. I was talking to him about what to expect in the office, a talk that I would have really appreciated my first week in the office. He mentioned to me that he feels really weird, but that he wants to learn and do a good job. We were also talking about the key to being a good missionary and he said that to him it all comes down to being humble, something that I completely agree with him on. That makes me happy to hear he understands his purpose and why he is here, I know that we will get along really well. He is fairly young in the mission (he has 6 months) and understands english fairly well, it is just hard for him to speak. This will be such a great opportunity for him considering he is living with 4 northamericans, something that I´m sure is a bit of a culture shock. I´m really trying to get the elders in the house to speak spanish if he is even in the room so he doesn´t feel alienated, but I´m sure there´s some things that he just can´t relate to.
I´m very excited about the change. I love having a latin companion. The different culture is always really interesting and I don´t know it just makes the actual work more fun for me. I wonder if there is a reason I have had so many latin companions. It has really taught me a lot about what I have grown up with and how God is no respector of persons; the gospel is for everybody. It doesn´t matter where you are from, who you are, what you´re family situation is, the gospel can change your life. A testimony of the restored church of Christ makes us better, because it gives us hope for something more. It gives us a sense of self worth and real confidence. It is incredible to see the people from terrible backgrounds that overcome all of it and become respectable, great people. I don´t have anymore time to write because I have to go, but I just want to let you know that I´m really being stretched here doing what I´m doing, but it really is helping me to learn to be more patient and calm. It is stressful when things go wrong but it is very gratifying when everything goes as planned. I am really trying to find and teach those who are going to progress and I will write you as soon as I run into somebody that we know will progress. I love you all and hope all is well. Please keep me in your prayers and I will keep you in mine.

August 4, 2011 - Crazy Week!

Hello family,

First off to answer your question Mom, I do have all of the mission library books. I didn´t have one of them but I found it in the Chimal house due to the fact that it is one of those eternal missionary houses and old missionaries leave their things there. Thanks though.
It is good to hear that everyone is doing well, that Mom is getting buckets of water dumped on her head, Brad is quickly rising to Forbes Magazine top 100 richest in America, and everyone else is vacationing except for poor Dad which is doing his manly duty of bringing home the bacon. Bacon that I have not eaten in a long time. Good sweet bacon... Mmmmm.... I do miss bacon. Anyway it sounds like everyone is doing great, thank you for always writing me, it means a lot.
This week for me has been crazy. We don´t have time to have a P-day because it is the week before changes so that is not fun, but were just trying to keep our head above water with all the stuff we have to do. Now I´m pretty much in charge so it is stressful but I´m hanging in there. Instead of P-day we just took a few hours yesterday to go to Chili´s and due to Brad´s request I got a real juicy thick burger that had man written all over it. Not literally but that would have been a nice touch. It was called the Chipoltle Blue Cheese Bacon Burger. It was so good. Your welcome Brad.... I enjoyed that for you.
It was cool though because Monday we secretaries found out changes so that we could start doing all the prep work for change day. President did a lot of unexpected things which I think is good. He has put in a lot young leaders which I´m really excited about. The biggest thing is that I´m training the first latino secretary in the longest time. I don´t think there has been a latino secretary in the office since President Baldwin got here because he usually wanted an elder that spoke english and a year of college, but President Brough doesn´t mind as much. His name is Elder Cruz and I´m really excited because I´ve heard while young in his mission he is very excited to be a missionary. I guess I´m just destined to be with latinos. I´m okay with that though because I love dynamic of 2 different cultures in a companionship. Elder Lydiksen was joking that of course I was the one to get the first latin secretary in forever becuase I hadn´t had a north american until I was sent here. It will definately be a challenge since he doesn´t really speak any english but I have heard he is very bright so we will work on english a lot considering he will be living in a house with 4 northamericans. I excited to see what I can teach him and learn from him at the same time. It will be a relief to finally have someone to be learning spanish from. Elder Lydiksen is great and speaks spanish with me but it just isn´t the same. It will be such a different office life because now we will have 2 latin AP´s and a latin secretary, it should be fun.
I´m very excited about getting my new companion (he at this moment has no idea what the next week for him has in store), but at the same time I´m kind of sad. Elder Lydiksen is a very down to earth guy who is always open to try to things and listen to other people. This has made the change a blast as we have been able to work hard, but not just hard, with unity as well. Missions are unique in the fact that they allow you to get to know and serve with so many different types of people over a short period of time, and while change can be hard, it is always exciting to get to know new circumstances.
Anyway sorry I didn´t write anything all that spiritually uplifting, I have run out time though. I just want to thank you all again for always writing me. I really am grateful for the family I have and how close I am to all of you. I always feel your constant support and love and you don´t know how much that means to a missionary. I love you all and hope everything is well.

July 29, 2011 - Zone Conference was great!

Hey everybody,
As I was telling Anne, I´m a year through my mission and I have completely run out of creative subject lines and greetings to the family as you can see above. I am telling you this so that you have 0 expectation of creativity from this creatively burnt out elder. I just can´t think of anything.
Anyway, I´m glad to hear Mom that you are enjoying or enjoyed girls camp, I´m sure the girls are as well. I forgot you were there when I sent that little email so I hope you don´t think I was being impatient and ungrateful for the emails I always consistently recieve from you and the family. I was just letting you know because I assume you like hearing from me on Wednesday as opposed to Thursday or Friday. Generally I will email you by Wednesday if it isn´t a weird week (like this one was). President has a new thing where he wants someone in the office at all times so I will be more or less regulary switching my P-day from Tuesday to Wednesday and vice versa every other week. It´s a good change but weird for us due to the fact that we are used to taking Pday together. My Pdays are much more productive now as I´m sure you can imagine. I wrote 6 letters this Wednesday, I was very happy with myself. Anyway it would be best if everybody that has the intention of writing me does it by Tuesday so I can respond when I am in the office and take what is called here as "family time."
The highlight of this week was Zone Conference. I was so happy because the assitants and President addressed what I have basically ranted to you about since the beginning of my mission. There are just so many mission traditions that have no source in Preach My Gospel the scriptures or anything resulting in that the teaching on a general level in the mission is pretty awful. Most the examples used aren´t even doctrinally sound, and missionaries use examples to replace the teaching instead of add to it. This isn´t to criticize, but I have just seen so many investigators left confused, left feeling as if they weren´t understood, or left uninterested because instead of explaining the real doctrine in a simple manner applying to the intelligence and the needs of the investigator, a missionary pulls out a pen and puts in the hand of the investigator telling them it is a prophet. Not that these common examples are always bad, but my good friend Elder Knight from Nicaragua explained that these examples that he heard as he was investigating the church for 4 years (he was a very active Evangelical, playing guitar and piano in this church for basically his whole life) made him feel as if the missionaries were trying to convince him that this was true instead of just teaching and allowing him to feel that it was true. It is really cool to see how the mission department is trying to really teach missionaries what Preach My Gospel is trying to say and get them to really just teach this simply and tell people that we have the truth with conviction. I could obviously improve in all of this, but it was great to see that President really understands how we are really going to connect with some people that maybe wouldn´t instantly see the appeal of the gospel from these rote tradtions that have formed in our (and I´m sure many other) missions.
Anyway now that I´m done ranting (again), the most powerful part of the meeting was definitely the little message that Sister Brough gave about how obediance and faith together give us power and the personal conversion necessary to teach this gospel in a way that will result in lasting conversions. We cannot convert more than we are personally converted. President also gave a powerful testimony of the martyrdom of Joseph Smith. He told us that in his opinion Joseph Smith understood better than anyone in this dispensation what Jesus Christ felt like because he knew that he was going to die for this cause, that he was going to leave behind his family and the work that he had sacrificed so much for. He told us about how Hyrum Smith would not abandon his brother even though he was told that he would be killed if he went with Joseph. He willing went to his death because of his loyalty to his brother and a prophet of the Lord. Seeing the testimony that President Brough has was really powerful and was a great motivator to keep working hard.
So that was all great, and the area I feel is improving. We are finding a lot of new people that we hope will rapidly progress. Elder Lydiksen is a great companion that is always willing to improve, I just hope my next companion is the same. I will be letting you know next week what is happening with changes in the office because we will find out Monday to make all the administrative changes. I love you all and I´m trying to do my best out here for you.

July 21, 2011

Dear Pearson Family,
First off to answer Mom´s many questions that I am happy to answer, we went to Santiago on P-day, it´s about a 3 hour drive from our house to there (we woke up early), yes we took a car but we no longer have a van we have a Toyota Hilux a truck not allowed in the states, but we took President´s car because the truck didn´t have enough seats. When we email we always email in the office when we can find time, I just wait until you email me. We also have a full P-day when we can and if not we do P-hours when we need a break. Brad, I laughed too the first time I heard that. And last of all, I have 3 more weeks with Elder Lydiksen and then I will be the one who supposedly knows everything... yikes. But it will be fun. I´m excited to see who my new companion will be.
So anyway, this week nothing too significant happened. Life goes on in the office. It has been a great experience with President because he really trusts and confides in us, even if we aren´t the assistants. He asks us what we think and likes to involve us in things when he can. He as such a great vision of what missionary work should be. He is very much against excess, he is taking a way a lot of things that I have thought twice about in the mission since the beginning. He just always talks about how if the manual doesn´t instruct us to have a meeting we shouldn´t have it because 100 meetings can´t make up for just being missionaries. He is going on a lot of divisions and getting to the roots of the work to have the engine function how it should, making sure everything from the bottom up is functioning so that a lot of the stress and pressure is taken off of the leaders. Everything he is doing I´ve agreed with and it is great to see that he just gets missionary work and has a real love for it. It really is an example when he and his wife come in from a taxi ride or something with a referral for us to give to the missionaries. They are great people.
As for the work in the area, Elder Lydiksen and I have found a few investigators that have promise of progressing, but nothing certain yet. It has been slow but I really feel like we are more focused now than were before. He´s a great companion because he let´s me know how I can improve and listens to me if I have something to talk about. When I wanted to talk spanish when we were working in the area so I didn´t lose too much of my spanish he just said ¨lets do it!¨ and has done it with me since. He really is a good Elder with good intentions. The Hernandez Estrada Family is still not progressing, President Brough wants to do divisions with us to see if he could help the situation, but I will let you know how that goes.
I´ve been thinking a lot lately about the quote by Boyd K. Packer where he says that doctrine understood changes behavior faster than a study of behavior changes behavior. This is something that is so apparent in our investigators. There is a stark difference between those who understand the need for a restoration, the need for an atonement, etc. and those who just go to church because they feel good there or because they like the missionaries. It is incredible to see somebody really see the goodness that our message contains. When they are humble and willing, how could they not see it? It´s true. Teaching that, really strenghtens my testimony that it is true and I just hope we can help somebody to see that to the point where they want to start on this path that will make them happy.
I have to end with what happened this morning at the bus stop. So we got off one bus and were going to the next bus that was one of the nicer city buses that you have to go through one of those counter gate things that they have at an amusement park. My companion and I got off after the other companionship and so we were running to catch up. I was digging in my pocket to find my coin because you can´t pass by the gate with out it and the bus and all the other elders were waiting for me. I was the last one onthe bus platform. Anyways I found the coin in the pocket feeling and feeling quite triumphant about that fact I too quickly tried to get through that counter gate that spins. As I pushed one of the rungs the other rung started to go up and caught my leg that was behind. I couldn´t really get out beacuse those things only go forward not backward and I slowly but surely ate it in front of a bus of about 50 latins and 3 northamericans who needless to say started to laugh mercilessly. I got up, said, I´m good, and got on for the bus ride of shame. I feel that it was a situation that was much funnier because of the fact that I was a gringo. I´m glad I provided them with a good laugh. If anyone gets that security camera footage and puts it on youtube let me know, I could be famous.
Well, I love you guys and hope all is well.