Friday, April 21, 2017

Baptisms and Barbecue

Bennett:


 FAMILY!!!!!!!!!!!

This week was fun! I almost fell in the river but i jumped off the log just in time! I was soaked up to my knees but I didn't swim!  It was funny but, scary at the same time. This week was very low key with the teaching. The river keeps rising every day and my area gets more and more flooded and muddy. I'm forced to walk through straight mud now. 


My comp and I are great. We will be baptizing 6 people this month. We found a less active member named Karina. Her husband isn't a member but will be very soon, along with the rest of her family. He is called Robby. He will get married this next week and baptized the next. We are super happy for this family. As for the zone, looks like we will be the highest baptizing zone in the mission this month!!!!!! PUCHANA!!!!!!! I also finally figured what is a punchana....its a small animalito of the jungle that's like the guinea pig! PUNCHANA!

Lots of new things to be happening, we will finish with 23-25 baptisms this month.  The zone is super happy. They are most likely gonna change me this next transfer...I'll be very very sad if they do...this has been one of the most rewarding parts of my mission to have applied all that I have learned and use it all so much.. I'll leave the area baptizing close to 20 people with 2 whole familias. It's been a killer good time here!!

LOVE Y'ALL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!






Jackson:
Hey guys!!! The sun was out all week! I was just waiting for it to rain and rain and rain but instead the wind blew and the sun stayed out all week!!! La Union has a beautiful center plaza and the weather was so nice that everyone was in the plaza all week! So we did a ton of contacts there! 

We didn't get to see Vicente this week; but he is going to get baptized in two weeks!! We also put another two investigators with fecha!! Hermana Moscoso and her daughter Luz! They are the wife and daughter of Nelson, a recently activated member! They are getting married next week! I will be the male witness at the official ceremony in front of the judge! In Chile you have to get married in front of an official judge! You have to bring a female witness and a male witness!! They also wanted me to conduct the ring ceremony, but I think that I'm going to defer to the Branch President on that one! Although sometimes I am referred to in popular Chilean nomenclature  as the "Love Guru" hahaha. 

We ate a ton of native foods this week because of the Semana Santa or "Easters" (Mexican priest voice from Nacho Libre) here in Chile!! Also, because our mamita is mapuche! She feeds us native food almost everyday, or she will serve us pasta and throw merken on there (which is a native spice of the Mapuche) and call it a Mapuche dish!! She tried to convince us that empanadas and pizza were invented by the Mapuche hahaha She is like the old guy in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, every word has a Greek root, and the Mapuche invented everything!! We drank a ton of Chicha! Which is pretty much just apple juice that they leave underground for a little while!! After a few days it starts to ferment and turn into apple beer! So, you have to be careful when they offer you chicha! Sometimes they have given me chicha and I've taken a swig only to realize that its pure alcohol haha We also drank Mudai! Which is an almost fermented drink from the local Mapuche culture!! 

Most of the people here in La Union are Mapuche or German, there are not too many Chileans! So, I am head and shoulders taller than anyone else! One day we were in the grocery store and I was just dribbling a basketball that I found while my companion was shopping, just passing it between my legs while I was walking, nothing big!! All of sudden we hear this little 5 year old kid say "WOOOOWWWWWW" Like the kid from The Incredibles haha I guess he had never seen anyone dribble a basketball before!!

We finally saw Carolina today! Maybe she snuck back into Chile from Argentina like Sherlock Holmes did on a little pony hahaha But,  she came to church! She should get baptized in a few weeks! We couldn't get to Miguel's house this week, but we called him almost everyday!! He is doing fine! We had 7 in the church this week, that's a pretty big number for this mission!! We worked our butts off all week to get there so we celebrated with barbecue at President's house today!!! My days are pretty full here, time is flying by!! Pray for warm weather for me!! Love and miss you guys!!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Boas and Blessings

Bennett:
FAMILYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Last week was a great week! We had a baptism and it was a great service. Lendy Huancas was baptized after her brothers two weeks ago. We also had the leadership council of the mission last week it was a interesting meeting. 


Zona Punchana was openly praised by the work and improvement we have had!!! IT WAS AWESOME! We were super happy. I've been here as zone leader for 2 changes with a different companion every change but I've stayed and they went. I've been helping a ton to all the district leaders and missionaries constantly. I started off as zone leader with a bunch of new missionaries who didn't know how to work very well but, now we are a raging baptizing MACHINEEEEEEEEEEEE.  We might be the highest baptizing zone in the mission this month!!! We are super excited. 
Right now in my area there are 5 more people getting baptized in short time. Brother Roby being the most outstanding, he was found on a contact activity and is now getting married and going to church and going to be baptized on his birthday the 24 of April. We are very happy for him. He did all the changes to his life, we just taught him how and it was LEGIT!!!!!!!!!!!
 
The river keeps rising, its getting nuts now that my area only has two dry streets and the rest are being flooded by the river. We have also seen lots of crazy animals that the people have as pets, the craziest being badgers and owls and LARGE BOAS! Today we are going to Quistococha, I went there when I was in Venecia it'll be fun to go back and visit!

LOVE YALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL


I love to get pictures from other missionaries! Thanks Hobbs family1

Jackson:
Hey guys!! 
This week felt like forever! It wasn't until yesterday that I realized why! Because of general conference we didn't take the Sacrament or go to church!! Sundays are always a great refresher for me! To be able to take the Sacrament, listen to the talks, and see all of the members doing the same things!! Conference is awesome, but the Sacrament is an energy boost for me every week that I absolutely need!!! 

We spent a lot of time this week working on the spreadsheet and the number system for the mission!! We finished it all! But I've picked up a few other projects on the way so my days are packed right now!! I love it though!!

Juan was supposed to be baptized this week, but we had to move his baptism a little farther ahead because he isn't married!! He and his "wife" didn't even realize that they weren't married!! LOL. We asked them for their documents to write down their information and it showed that they weren't married! When we asked them about it, they thought they were married! We asked them if they ever went to the registro civil to get married and they said that they don't remember if they did! But, It isn't going to be a problem!! They should be married next weekend and after that he should get baptized real soon!!! Carolina is stuck in Argentina, I guess she was here illegally, the last thing we heard was that she is trying to cross the border illegally. It's the last thing we've heard because we told the members we don't want to here how she comes back, but that we will just be here waiting to teach here when she gets home!! 

 Miguel is doing awesome!! He is super analytical and we always somehow end up talking about politics and Paula Dean recipes!! But, He is getting along super well!! We also picked up some new investigators this week! Natasha and Yanni! They are from Germany and are teaching German in a local German private school!! They are 19 and 22! We met them in a local square here in La Union! They actually came up to us and started talking! They speak English, and are learning Spanish, so we teach half in Spanish and half in English! Its a trip to teach in English! Ive only ever done it in Spanish!! 

I don't know if I've mentioned Vicente, but he is the 8 year old son of a family that we reactivated, he is going to get baptized this next week!! This week in the Ensign there was an article about studying your patriarchal blessing!! I took mine out and did some of the exercises!! I had no idea that my tribe is the most blessed of all tribes! Its also interesting to see how the meaning changes as we grow and experience new things!! Go read your blessing! 

Also, this week I had to hand grind a brick of unprocessed molasses to make brown sugar!! But it was so worth it!! I hope everyone is doing well!! Keep being cool, and keep out of Syria!! Love you guys!!


Monday, April 3, 2017

Pink Dolphins and Spreadsheets

Bennett:
This week was so choice! We got to watch all of the sessions of general conference!!!!!! I loved President Nelson's talk and I've already started marking all the scriptures about Christ.

This week in these last few days we have had a torrential downpour of rain. My whole area is even more flooded and the water is about 7 feet deep and 15 feet deep in some parts AND ALLLLL THE ANIMALS OF THE RIVER ARE OUT. LOTS OF WATER VIPERS AND LOTS OF ELECTRIC EELS!! I've seen so many its surprising. Also, we saw those pink river dolphins out in the distance on Thursday evening! This area is so nuts! The water is starting to come up really close the church building and you can see it out the back of the chapel windows!!
We have 6 people with a baptismal date and there are 15 in all so, we make up the most part
of the whole zone. Being zone leader is fun.....I'm the oldest missionary in the whole zone with 6 months of the second oldest so, it's interesting being like the old seasoned missionary and everyone else has like a little more than a year. The bridges are getting a bit more crappy and my comp weighs around 200 and he has already broken 2 bridges and fallen in once..... let's hope the best for me that I don't fall in where the eels are!!! ahhahahah! LOVE YALLLLLLL







Jackson:

 
Hey guys!! This week was so flipping awesome!! I love my new sector and my comp is an absolute machine!! We have been working our butts off this week!! We were gone almost everyday doing something and we still got so much done!! 
To start out the week we had zone conference!! I had my last zone conference two weeks ago, but because I moved zones the schedule is different!! My interview with the president was great as well!! Then we had District meeting the next day, then we had zone council! And then I went to Osorno to start building the new numbers collecting services for the missionaries!! I am making a new spreadsheet system for all of the mission! Before, they were writing down the numbers down by hand!! Now, all of the District Leaders and Zone Leaders will be inputting the numbers with their phones and an automated spreadsheet will appear for all of us office elders!! I don't care how nerdy it sounds, EXCEL IS THE BEST!! You can do anything with excel!! These new spreadsheets are going to help out the mission a ton!!  And we will finally see all of the numbers for the mission for the first time! 
Our two investigators are doing great! We only got to see Carolina once because she went to Argentina for vacation! But, she went with a family in our branch so they did family prayers and and read the scriptures every day! And also watched all of the conference sessions!! Juan found work, which was a huge blessing for his family and him!! We met with him once and he told us that he sees the direct relation between his coming unto Christ, and his families situation improving!! It's awesome that he already can see the blessings of his baptism that is coming up!! We also put Miguel with a date for the 13th of May!! He is the husband of a recent member, Benigna! Her parents got sick and she moved north to take care of them, she only comes to visit Miguel once a month! In her absence he started to feel the need to learn more about Christ! He wants to surprise her, be baptized, and meet her at the Santiago temple to do baptisms for the dead!! 
Conference was awesome! I loved Elder Holland's and Sabin's talks! Also Elder Christofferson's talk struck me strongly! In that calling that we have as watchmen on the towers, we need to do first in the assigned way of the Lord and after that we need to do it by "singing our own song" as described by Elder Holland!! Elder Sabin's talk was hilarious! But it was also a great reminder to make sure that we are making the correct "U turns" when necessary! We need to be very alert of what our ideas of "success" is! As very clearly pointed out in the first story of his talk when his grand daughter told him that she scored three goals! Although she scored three goals, they might have been for the other team!! Everything is going great here in Chile! It's getting colder everyday!! I finally have a Brazilian in my zone so I'm talking Portuguese at last!! Love you guys!!
 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Hot and Cold



Bennett:

 This week was fun and very very wet. It rained so hard here that we had water leaking from the roof in our house! The river rose and filled everything in. So, now my days and area are filled with floating bridges and boats everywhere! The area is getting super worked now. We have 3 more investigators being baptized this Saturday. We are super excited for this week. This is also the last week I'll have with Elder Espinoza :( the dude is such a homie! I'll miss him a lot. So I'll have a new companion next week. The zone is doing just great. Being a zone leader is fun and has taught me a lot about kindness and patience. We will have 13 baptisms this month. It should be a great March. Elder Espinoza and I are doing fantastic work the area Bellavista. We have give or take, 20 investigators and 6-12 investigators in the church on a weekly basis so we are literally working like it was our last change. (hold your applause for Elder Espinoza)

Iquitos is fun.  Now we are going into winter so that means it will just rain more like 3 times a day instead of 2 and the temperature will be the exact same, if not hotter. Having 19 months is kinda weird.  Everyone looks at me as if I had 20 years more than that. Along with my group, we are the oldest North American missionaries here in the mission. Like we are SUPER OLD here. There are not a lot of people close to our time in the mission. Also, I'm making some bracelets for the
missionaries as a little gift for their work this transfer. There are some cool red seeds here in the jungle.  I hope they'll like them 'causeI I've been working my butt off to make 'em! 

Love you all!

Here's some floating bridges in my area. It's about 10 feet to the bottom under them.  All the surface is covered with plants! During my time on these bridges I've seen huge piranhas and electric eels and turtles, lizards and all sorts of animalitos. Also, the bag is full of the seeds I've using for the bracelets and they aren't painted! Red and black is the natural color of these seeds!









Jackson:




 Hey guys!! 
I'm in Puerto Montt today!! But I'll get to that later!! This week was really awesome! I'm saying that because if I don't I'll break down and cry! haha I miss the beach and sunshine of California! This was the first week that it really felt like winter, it poured and rained and wailed and howled! We got hit with a huge storm from the mountains and it covered us for almost the whole week! It was sunny on Monday, so we left the window open that night and I woke up at 3 am in a soaking wet sleeping bag!! It started to rain and I sleep right next to the window! I was so cold, I still don't feel warm from that still.  It's pretty hard to know that it's going to be like that for the rest of my mission!! But despite that, this was an awesome week!! We worked really hard with the members! The branch here has been hit with a lot of trials lately and although we can't do much, we can make cookies.  And who doesn't love a huge gringo with a horrible accent(me)?! Juan, who was baptized last week, got the priesthood this week!! I love how quick he moved forward! I had the privilege to confirm him last week and to give him the priesthood this week! Its the first time that I've done either of those things! It was a unique and emotional moment for me to say to someone "Receive the Holy Ghost." the power of God manifests itself in the power and firmness of those words. The same thing goes when confirming the priesthood upon an eligible young man!! I'm excited to see Juan serve the Sacrament in church next week, the first young man to do so in this branch for 5 years!! Even though I've only known Juan for a few weeks, it feels like my son is all grown up and I'm an empty nester! Is this how it feels to be old dad?! haha 

This was the first week of school in Chile! I live here and I don't think I'll ever get the reverse seasons thing down! But, since school is starting up we will be able to see everyone a lot more, because they'll be sticking around for school!! Another highlight of the week was seeing Eileen, an inactive young woman three months ago, come to church, take the Sacrament, stay all three hours, and go to the young woman's conference in Chiloe, which is a 7 hours by bus and not cheap to get to!! We stayed the night with Elder HOBBS!!! WOOH HOOH!! He and I are gonna have a ton of fun after the mission haha! But I'm in Puerto Montt today, and tomorrow, then off to Valdivia for a zone conference on Wednesday! Then finally back home to San Jose!! I'm still studying Portuguese every day!! Learning other Latin languages is so easy!! I love learning!! Life is real busy here! Its challenging and I love it!!

I love you guys!!






Monday, September 26, 2016

My Life is a Good One and This is an Amazing Experience

Bennett:
FAMILIARES!
 
THIS WEEK WAS RAD! We had some baptisms in the ward and cruised up river to the coolest baptismal font y´all have ever seen! Walking around in farm country is the best! People always give fruit and sugar cane to us to eat. Walking through the jungle and talking to everyone about Jesus, my life is a good one. The rolling hills, mountains, reminds me of Lord of the Rings hahaah! Also, wild guinea pigs live here in the farms and mountains. Today for lunch we are going to eat guinea pig! It'll be a good time. We also received a service project from the devil himself. Friday we cleaned out some rain gutter that was like 7 feet deep!  It was terrible, 3 hours of good hard work but I'm grateful.  We got lunch and found some people to teach.

WE FOUND THE BEST FAMILY EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The husband of a less active gave us a reference to his distant family member, we went, they let us in! They are super amped and went to church and LOVED I! They are very humble and are practically walking into the baptismal waters.  ITS SO AWESOME!!!!!!!!! They moved to my area about 2 months ago and they live close to a bunch of members. We always passed by their house and we never knocked! BUT, WE FOUND THEM!!!!!! I'm stoked! We are going to visit them today and lay down a date of 15 of October. They just have to marry and they are super stoked for that, too! IVAN CHUMACEDO Y MERLY CHACON VILLALOBOS......PRAY FOR THEM.......

love y'all 

chau





Jackson:
     This week was another awesome week here at the bottom of the world! I'm honestly having a hard time finding anything bad about the mission. The rain isn't so bad, the food isn't either! The people are so nice and the ward is amazing! The investigators just make you want to cry sometimes, they are amazing.  I really love every part of it, because I know that in the end anything I'm doing here will only make me a better person and bring me closer to the Savior! I lost the ability to serve a mission for a while, and now I'm back and I can't believe what I almost missed out on! This is an amazing experience.
      This week was ward conference! To start out the week we played soccer on Monday night! I scored a bunch, not because of any skill! I'm just high motor haha and I was playing against a bunch of 6 and 60 year olds! But you got to take it where  you get it. Am I right?! The next day Elder Mills and I had to head to Osorno to do stuff for our visas! We stayed in a super nice apartment with some really nice elders! NOT! I'm going to let you guess what the lie was, the nice elders or the nice apartment! Hint: cockroaches in your sleeping bag when you wake up! But, it was awesome because the next morning we got to meet our new president! His name is president Isom! He and his wife are so nice! They are from Wyoming and definitely gringos! He doesn't speak too much spanish and she doesn't speak any! They didn't receive any training from the missionary department, they received the call three weeks before they left! They saw a ton of miracles in being able to leave so quick! We had to take them to a few places around Osorno! He looked at me at one point and said that he had no idea what he was doing as a mission president and especially not here in Chile, I almost broke his heart when I had to tell him I didn't know either! haha 
     We got home on Wednesday night and we had another ward activity! It was dessert competition! I made those apple, blueberry and lemon ramekins that we ate every Sunday when we watched the Amazing Race and I WON, in the flavor category at least! Another guy won first place over all because his presentation was better, but the judge clearly said mine tasted better! My only response is that if it tastes good, who cares about the presentation! haha That night we got invited to a ton of family home evenings but only if I made that dessert and brought it. haha The next morning we had an awesome lesson with Andres about the word of wisdom! He also explained what was happening with his lawsuit against him. He showed us thew accounting sheets and was pretty amazed that I knew what he was talking about. GAAP baby!! He has been so swamped with this case that we haven't been able to share much of the gospel with him! He told us he still wants to keep sharing and that he believes in it all! 
     On Friday we had interviews with president! Our day kinda got shot because the interviews were at our chapel so we had to open it, wait and then close it! But the interview was awesome! While I was waiting for my interview I talked to Hermana Isom! She is super nice. She had a notebook with a painting of Monet's water lilies! She was amazed that anyone knew that, let alone what she described me as "a beach bum football playing man" haha During the course of the conversation it came up that I went home from my mission! The first thing that President Isom did in our interview was give me a big hug and said he was proud of me for returning! I guess Hermana Isom told him! The rest of the interview was so great! He is awesome and so ready to learn how to be a president! 
     On Saturday when I woke up my eye was swollen shut! So, Elder Mills and I spent the day at the hospital! One of my glands was being blocked by something so it caused my eye to swell! They gave me some medicine and it's all better now!
     Sunday was ward conference! We had about 50 people at church which was pretty big! After church we took the Sacrament to a member named Victor.  It was so amazing to see how much it meant to him that we came and brought it to him! He is so cool! He has a huge library with a ton of books! He gave us a  few to borrow! After that, Elder Mills and I went to visit a investigator named Patricia! She just had a baby! She asked us to bless it! It was a pretty interesting experience, especially in Spanish! After that, the father drove us home with his son and his son's girlfriend! The son's girlfriend wasn't feeling good . I was sitting next to her in the back and the next thing I know she was squeezing the life out of my arm and throwing up in her purse! haha It was pretty sad, but comical! This morning Elder Mills and I went to the coast again! We went to a small fishing town called Nieblas! We watched the waves and some fishermen dive for abalone for a good few hours! I miss the ocean! But, this week was awesome! hope yours was, too!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Bennett:
Howdy Familiares
 On Friday I received a call from the Asistentes to the Presidente and I went to the Hospital and translated English and Spanish for some American doctors and practicing students from Michigan State for more than 6 hours with over 100 different people who came in to get checked out and have free medical treatment. It was awesome to give such a meaningful service as this, because they really needed it!  



This week was a good week, Monday we went to Quistococha which is a nature park, zoo and lake all at the same time. It's in the middle of nowhere and completely surrounded by jungle.  It was sweet! The zoo is cool, the monkeys escaped out of their cages to come play with us ahahhahahahahhaha pretty nutty. We played futbol on the beach and volleyball, too . It was a good time with lots of crazy animals!

It was crazy working this week!  The heat was off the charts and it was blazing. But, we just bit the bullet and kept going on till we had to escape to the shade for a few minutes and then just head back out. The diligence was a pretty big thing for us hahah. We also saw about 500 clowns all from Canada come to our area to play with the kids there....pretty weird...they were a pretty rowdy crowd and don't like the Mormons too much! We had some good contacts. On Friday we woke up earlier and hiked to the river Itaya through straight jungle to fish at 4:45 in the morning.  It was cool.  We got some piranhas.

  This week was a week of diligence and improvement. Just being the missionary and doing all the things that they do. AND DOING IT HAPPILY! That's what the Lord wants. Taking the pride out of our hearts and letting humility and virtue fill the empty spaces. I'm also about to finish the Book of Mormon in Spanish!

How is everyone?


Jackson: This is two weeks of letters:

 Time is flying by! This week also felt weird in terms of time! Every day felt like it took a while, and BAM its Monday again! We met a ton of new people this week and saw a ton of progression in our investigators! My Spanish is still getting better! When I speak with Elder Mills in English sometimes it's hard to talk because I'm getting used to Spanish grammar! Which I don't feel too good about because I love the English language! It rained a ton this week, surprise! We wore rain pants and jackets almost everyday! My shoes and boots are keeping up great! We had a pretty cool experience with an investigator this week! His name was Andres. The missionaries taught him a while ago and hadn't been back! So, when we were reading through the area book, we felt an impression to go and see him! When we got there we asked him if he had been reading in the Book of Mormon! He said, "yes",  and that he was in Nephi! usualy when most people say this, it means that they read a page in the beginning! We talked for a little longer and then asked if we could give him a scripture to read before we saw him again! He went an grabbed his Book of Mormon and it turns out he had read all the way to 3rd Nephi!! He is almost done with the book! It was super cool to see he has a ton of interest and seems excited to learn more. Right after we visited him that night we went over to another family in Collico! We went to go see Mauricio and Janet! We asked them if they had read any of the Book of Mormon and they had! They both said how beautiful it was written and how it is so much easier to understand than the Bible!! We also taught another family who own a store on the corner near our house! We stop there every night to get a piece of pie before we head home! We had become super good friends with them and the other day we asked if we could share the gospel with them! We taught them in their store on Saturday morning which was kinda hard but they had a ton of questions and he had started to read the Book of Mormon He already had! Everyone is reading, which is great. We had a ton of progress this week but we were also turned down a lot. I read a talk a few days ago mentioning how God uses more than just the Latter day saints to get good works done. There are other people of God out there! As I read that talk I thought a lot of how I personally rejected other faiths in the past and how others reject us. I wondered how Christ would handle the situation. Christ would be charitable and listen because he knows that this means a lot to the other person, he would also listen because he would humbly admit that he can learn something from anyone, even of other faiths. With his beliefs firm he would discuss with the other missionary and see if he could learn anything from them. We have a lot of evangelico churches in our area and we get turned down all of the time because they, like many of us think that they can't learn anything from us and that they are the only people of God. Next time the Jehovahs Witnesses knock on our door, let them in and see if you can learn anything!! I hope everything is going well at home! I miss you all! 

This week's letter:
This week whirled by! We were really blessed with rain every day too! YOOHOO! We saw a ton of progress with our investigators this week! We went in to talk to Andres at his store and he told us he had read the whole Book of Mormon! It had only been three days! He had so many awesome questions. Most of his questions were about deep doctrine, he is really doing his research. We talked to the other Andres down in Collico and had a lesson with his family! He has read all the way up to 3rd Nephi and his family has read a few of the pamphlets and started to read the Book of Mormon! We also taught Matilde this week! She is the mother of our mamita, Hermana Edith! She read a few of the pamphlets and Elder Mills and I are gifting her a huge Book of Mormon with easy read print for her birthday that is coming soon! She told us that she is praying and knows that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that this is God's true church! Its amazing to see every one of our investigators receive answers to their prayers this week! We've been working really hard, and we are seeing huge progress in this part of the Lord's vineyard! We went to eat lunch yesterday with a hermana and her family this week and she asked to give the closing prayer! About halfway through the meal her daughter that was eating with us left to take a phone call! During the prayer she thanked the Lord that the missionaries were here to cast out the evil spirits that annoy her at night, and then in a tearful voice asked the lord why her daughter had left during the meal and that she missed it when her daughters cheeks were bigger and she used to eat more.  She asked the Lord to please help her get her big cheeks and appetite back! This same daughter is also going to get married her real soon, so the hermana asked for help when she has to tell her daughter that her fiance is going to die. It was a huge example of someone who truly talks with the Lord during her prayer, like a daughter would talk to her father! There were a few gunshots this last week in our neighborhood! We heard them at night, and the next day when we went to our mamita's house she said that someone had gotten shot in the leg and the guy who got shot came inside her house because it was raining and waited on her couch.  This is defintely not the United States. The members in this ward are awesome! They feed us very well, and always ask us to come over or to take them with us to lessons! Elder Mills  and I get along great!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Pangiapulli and Pucallpa


 
Saying goodbye in Mexico City


  Jackson:

These last few weeks have been crazy! First, let me begin with the last week in the CCM! It was so much fun and so hard to pay attention! I wanted to get as much time with Bennett in as possible and study hard as well. There were still tons of pranks and fun though! Elder Padelsky ate a huge moth! I have a video of it! I'll try sending it!! On every Sunday everyone gets together to watch a movie! After the movie everyone sings goodbye to the elders who are leaving! They show a slideshow of all of the districts who are leaving! Bennett's group managed to sneak in circle signs in their picture! The whole auditorium busted up laughing. It was one of the funniest things I've ever seen!! 

Afterward we had a testimony meeting with all of the people who were leaving. Bennett and I both bore our testimonies. It was a very spiritual experience for the both of us! Luckily Bennett and I left on the same day! He left at 12:00 and I left at 4:00! It was so hard saying goodbye to him! I miss him so much already!! Calling everyone in the airport was awesome! It really gave me a much needed push! 



When we arrived in Osorno the A.P.s and our mission president were waiting for us with a huge mission flag! President Obeso came up to me and started talking about surfing!! It was awesome! One of the A.P.´s name is Elder Davis and he is from Temecula and knows Jake Billings!! He also knew me and several people from San Clemente!! It was awesome to see some familiar and friendly faces! It was super cold when I landed! We went to the mission home and had lunch with the president and he told us where we were headed. He told me I was going to Panguipulli! My trainer would be Elder Germann! The second he said that I knew that this is where I am supposed to go! We spent the night at a really cheap hotel and then went to the goverment building the next morning to work out our visas. After that we went to a nearby church building and met our companions. Elder Germann is the coolest! He is going to be a great trainer! He is from Austin, Texas and he plays collegiate golf!! 

After I met him we started to travel to Panguipulli! Panguipulli is in the North and is up in the mountains! It is surrounded by seven lakes and four volcanoes! I haven't seen any of them yet because the sun hasn't come out once since I've been here!! But we went to the bus terminal to start going to Panguipulli! The place was so hectic! I don't know how Elder Germann got up to Panguipulli but he did! First, we took a one hour bus ride to Valdivia in a semi nice bus! After that, we took a bus ride to Panguipulli! It took about three and a half hours during the middle of a rainstorm on a road under construction in the worlds dirtiest bus!! Haha! We got to Panguipulli at about 6:30! That night he just took me around and met some of the ward members! It poured all night! The next day was when all the real fun started! We started talking to our investigators!! We have about 15 investigators right now! All of them have baptism dates! It's really hard to keep track of this all because our area is huge! It's about 200 miles by 100 miles wide! 

I've invited two people to be baptized while I've been here already! I've never felt closer to the spirit. I invited Mercedes, who is the mother of another investigator named Yesica! It was super awesome! She couldn't understand me at first but, when I said it again she got it! Seriously, it was so awesome! I love this place! The branch is about 80 members strong, we got about 60 at church this weekend! Ten of those sixty were some of our investigators!

 The Spanish is so different here! It's super fast and hard to understand! And it rains every day! It's so crazy! I haven't seen the sun once since I have been in Chile! We live in a house with two Latin elders! Elder Bustamante and Elder Mayuri! Elder Mayuri's house burned down and he lost everything. His companion gave me the only thing he owned, a pair of slippers because he was finished with his mission! Some of his shirts have burn marks in them! He writes in a binder with a hole burned in the middle! I love them both! They are so much fun to have around and they help me with my Spanish so much!! I'll get better news for you guys next week! I love and miss all and I appreciate your support! I love you all!
Elder Sheppard

Arrival In Panguipulli
Stoking the fire

 Bennett:


  Firstly, my area is Seanz Pena in the City of Pucallpa. NOW LET ME TELL ABOUT THIS FIRST WEEK.
 I HAVE A BAPTISM FOR OCTOBER 10th! I HAVE A FAMILY BEING BAPTIZED NOVEMBER 28th! 
Alright, here is all the crazy stuff. I fought off a pack of dogs with my umbrella, on Friday it rained so hard that our apartment flooded, this area is all sheet metal and on Friday it rained so hard that two houses washed away. My companion is Elder Gutierrez from Lima.  He doesn't speak a word of English! My Spanish is getting wayyyyy better also! It felt amazing to extend a family the invitation for baptism and they said yes! 
I came here  by a rickety plane, I taught the first lesson to an older lady and bore my testimony, then she showed me her dentures and which teeth she was missing in them...
 
I'm far down from Iquitos and I know why your friend said his area isn't hot. It is because his area was mountainous and it's in the foot hills of some mountains, THIS PLACE IS A FURNACE! WE WALK ALL DAY AND NIGHT AND I SWEAT BUCKETS! IT'S SO HOT HERE! This is the hottest zone in the mission and it kind of junglely and kind of dusty. We use these little moto carriages to get everywhere like in Thailand! We also taught a blind man who is less active and he said he would come to church.  So, we guided a blind man to church and the church was like a mile away! That was an experience! Also, I got to hear people pray for the first time in their lives! It was one of the most heartfelt prayers I've heard! Truly beautiful!  
I love you all, 
Elder Sheppard