Monday, August 14, 2017

Kook Elders

Mari Mari!!! 
That's Mapuche for "hello"! You learn something new everyday!! This week was pretty fun! We had a ton of stuff going on!! To start off the week we did some exchanges with some elders in Osorno!! It was an awesome experience! Elder Spencer and I went to go  teach some Haitians! They don't speak Spanish, they speak Creole! It's a mix of Spanish and French and a native language. And, it's also a yummy type of food found in the American south! But, it was a pretty spiritual lesson! We taught about 13 at the same time, they all just moved here from Haiti and all share a single room apartment! We tried our best to share about the Book of Mormon! I don't know if they understood what we were saying, but everyone understands the spirit!! It was pretty amazing to see them laughing, singing, and telling jokes after having moved more then 2000 miles and sharing a 20 foot by 20 foot single room apartment with 12 other people! After the lesson we played soccer with a bunch of investigators! Then we ordered some real pizza from Papa Johns!! It was the best pizza I've had in my entire mission!!

We had an awesome combined activity with all of the elders and sisters in Osorno! It was about the Plan of Salvation! We started the night by sending everyone into a room filled with a ton of fun games, food, and candy, and then one booth of missionaries with pamphlets and church material! Naturally everyone went to the games and candy! We gave them tickets when they won games and they could use those tickets to buy food too!! Almost no one went to the booth with the missionaries! We stopped all of the games and asked everyone to count how many tickets they had. The tickets represent the sins of the world and the distractions of the world! So, the people who had the most tickets were sent to the "Terrestrial Kingdom" or a pitch dark room that we left the windows open in all day so it was freezing! The people who only had a few tickets went to the "Telestial kingdom" which was a room with some lights in there and only one couch for about 40 people haha and then the people who had the least amount of tickets went to the Celestial kingdom!! It was a super nice room and we paid for a massage guy to come and give them massages with freshly squeezed juice and it was warm!! We made them all stay in their rooms for about 20 minutes and we sent a few of the people from the Celestial kingdom with juice in their hands to brag in the other kingdoms.  hahaha Afterwards we had an awesome fireside!! It was a super fun object lesson haha

We didn't get to see the family of Walter this week, but they sent us a message that everyone is having a great time, they get back from Cuba next week! I didn't get to be in any lessons with Nataly, Maite, or Maria this week because I was in the office or getting things done in some other sectors, but they all are progressing towards their baptismal dates!! It was fun because we went to go visit a few members this week and our investigators were there hanging out with the members and we had no idea!!! 

I was reading in Matthew this week and I loved the contrast of the parables of the Hidden Treasure and The Pearl of Great Price!! Go read them if you can. In the parable of the Hidden Treasure the man comes across a hidden treasure in the ground, he quickly went and sold all that he owned and bought the land with the treasure hidden within! In the Pearl of great price, the man, a pearl merchant, who spends all of his time looking for the best, most valuable pearls comes across the pearl of all pearls. He quickly went and sold all that he owned and bought the pearl! The treasure and the pearl is the Kingdom of God. It does not matter how we encounter the Kingdom of God, whether it be through a lifetime of searching, buying, and trading like the pearl merchant, or if we happen to come of across it like the man in the hidden treasure, as soon as we encounter the kingdom of God and realize its worth, we must act as quick as we can to obtain it. Its important to note that the Merchant, and the man in the Hidden Treasure both paid the same price, "all that they had". It does not matter if we are wealthy merchants, or middle class workers, the price to enter the kingdom of God is the same for everyone. It's all that we have, all of our money, our hearts, our knowledge. All of our being is the price needed to enter the kingdom of God, anything less will block us from entry! 

Everything is going great here!! It rained a ton this week, the hour also moved back so we get less daylight AGAIN!! WOOH. But, now we have a Papa John's and Subway!! Also I'll attach a picture of the futon that we made and our Christmas light decorations that we put up!! Love you all!!

Monday, August 7, 2017

A Sheppard at the Sheep Factory

This week went by super fast! I speak Spanish I swear, but I didn't pay any attention to the name of my area when I got here! My new area is called Ovejeria, which means something along the lines of sheep factory haha! I didn't realize that at first and this week an investigator asked me what my name meant and I said that it meant "pastor" which is Spanish for shepherd! He just started to laugh, and after thinking for a few minutes I finally figured it out! President Isom: 1 Me: 0 haha

We were running all over this week! We started with intercambios and I went to entre lagos! Its a rural community that is settled between to beautiful lakes. It was a ton of fun to go out there and to be in the countryside! We went to go visit some members and we got to feed all of the farm animals! We loaded hay for the cows, bucketed grain for the horses and we got to hand bottle feed the baby goats and sheep!! It was a ton of fun! You can see 5 volcanoes from their sector on a sunny day, and I went the first sunny day that we have had in weeks! It was so beautiful!! 

We had a great lesson with an investigator of ours this week! Nataly! We always have lessons at the members house, so we've never been to her house or met her whole family! But, we found out that she has a daughter who is 9! So we started to teach her, too! It's pretty frustrating sometimes when you find people who are ready to be baptized hiding in plain sight! But nothing strengthens my testimony that the lord is preparing people for us in our sectors  when someone comes along that has actually been waiting there the whole time! We shared the video of the first vision with her daughter and had her mom (Nataly) explain it to her!! Seeing her explain the first vision and bear testimony of the truth of the first vision was so awesome!!!! They both have dates to be baptized on the 26th of this month!!

We have another awesome family of investigators, the Art family!! HE is the really tall guy! They are leaving to go on a trip to Cuba this week! During our weekly planning session my companion and I both felt very strongly to teach him the word of wisdom and give them a promise before they left! We had an awesome lesson and invited them to keep the word of wisdom on their vacation, and if they did that, they would enjoy their vacation more then any other vacation they have had! They agreed to do it! Their younger son Thomas sent us a text in the middle of the week, I'll translate it for you guys, it says, "THIS WEEK WAS AWESOME!!! WE GOT TO SPEND THE MONEY WE USUALLY SPEND ON WINE AND BEER AND WENT ON A ZIPLINE!!!" We laughed our heads off! hahaha. 

Our other investigator Maria came to church as well this week! She called us Saturday night and said that she was super sick and wasn't feeling up tp going! We got to the church and she was already waiting at the door, and hour early.
For district meeting this week we did a BYOTTF (bring your own things to fry) after the meeting we just fried up whatever anyone brought, we fried oreos, pizza, a cupcake, a snickers bar, an already fried empanada.  We fried a lot of stuff!! I also got my haircut this week, it was pretty bad haha One member asked me if I fell asleep in the grass when the lawn mower passed over! But, right after I got it cut we had missionary correlation! We finished our correlation and left and I thought, "I guess its not that bad if he didn't say anything about it!" Well, our mission leader is blind. My hair cut is really bad and that's all I'll say haha Love you guys!!! NO SEAN FLOJOS!!!!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Baptisms and Barbecue



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 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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


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!


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

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

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


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


 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!


 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!!