Hey Everyone!
This is my blog about all the activities and details about my mission. My folks are going to be updating it weekly, based on the information that I send them through my letters. My current address:
Elder Brigham James Merrell
MTC Mailbox # 138
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

Monday, November 22, 2010


Tuesday: We went to our Distrizona meeting. We arrived late. We all woke up late. I was ready a half-hour early. Elder Oversby was ready 10 min. later. The bus took 15 min. to arrive and 10 to arrive at the meeting. I was embarrassed. The rest of the meeting went by without incident. We had lunch, and went to our appointment with Jonathan. He used to smoke 20 cigarettes a day, and no he`s only smoking 6! He has a true desire to change. I probably won`t see his baptism, but he`ll get there. He wants to quit in 30 days. We`ll try and shorten that. We taught the plan of Salvation. He said he loved it, because it was new and hard to grasp. We helped him and gave him a pamphlet. He`s an intelligent fellow. He read our other pamphlets 3 times each! He used to not be spiritual, and had a rough life. But now he sways that when he prays, he feels "accompanied" and not alone! Thanks to today`s lesson, he better understands WHO he`s praying to. He noticed how clear the Book of Mormon is, compared to the Bible. He`s really observant. Elder Oversby and I were talking about girls tonight (he ALWAYS points out women). He compared Megan Fox to a casino, pretty on the outside and trash on the inside (he said it, not me). He wants to marry a temple--beautiful inside and out. I think we both agree on that.

Wednesday: We went to help Nestor this morning like we had agreed, but he had misunderstood and we had done a lot of walking for nothing. We ended up doing some contacts before lunch. In the afternoon, we helped Osvaldo with English before doing some visits...or trying to. Most of our current investigators are under 18, and today, all of the parents came out and told us "the kids weren't interested anymore. "that`s a load of garbage, and they know it. So now we have Jonathan, Estefanìa, who will be baptized Saturday, and Cristian and his wife Veronica. I don`t think we can effectively teach Nestor`s family anymore. We must have walked 9 miles today. We were tired. We went to our ward mission Leader correspondence meeting. There`s a brother that was there, Hna. Andy, the pres. of the high priests. First of all, he doesn't talk unless he has an audience. Then he complains. He told us we weren't using the members enough. That was dumb, because all the members say no, and when we brought him, he made us lose an investigator. Then he said the Bishopric shouldn't have to do Permanaced list, which they haven`t been doing and should. It`s their ward, and we just make the visits. He said the numbers aren't important, and we have to focus on the people. We know that, but obviously we have the numbers for some purpose, and wasn't that why he was reproaching us in the first place? Then he named all the callings he`s had, and said he knows better. After that, Fernanda`s exchanged student told us that he`s a classmate of Hna. Andy. Andy doesn't do his homework or he fails it, claiming it`s because of work and being a Father. The Pres. of the High priests shouldn't even be at that meeting!

Thursday: This morning, we had our weekly planning session. I had to stare at the map again for 30 min. to look for names for Permanaced, just because I know the map better. Lame. But we got a firm grip on what we`re going with our investigators. As we were walking to lunch, I was thinking of how weird and unintelligent the people of Chile can be sometimes. Then I realized that Americans might be even worse...outside of Utah. I realized the WORLD is a messed up place. People are greedy. they compete to see how many girlfriends and one-night stands then can have. Good people are punished by the evil hearts of the men worshiped by society. Drunk men abuse their trapped wives. This world is deteriorating. But there are the candles of the LDS to shine in this darkness. Strong families with values of integrity and honesty, using those virtues to lift others. We're outnumbered, but every soul we change is great in the sight of God. We met someone named Ignacia. Her mom is 22 years inactive. We invited the mom to return, and Ignacia was like, "It`ll be good for you to return. I`ll even go with you!" So we taught her the restoration, an d we have another appointment, she`ll come to Estefanìa`s baptism, and church. She was almost our last contact, and I wanted to save the other contacts for another day. But the Lord rewarded our diligence!

Friday: While doing contacts this morning, Elder Oversby made the comment, "If your hair can be used to describe a cleaning product, you might have a problem." He was referring to the close similarity my hair has to...steel wool. I thought it was funny. We talked to a man who believed in God and nothing else. Not even the Bible. He had studied a lot about every church, he claimed, and he believes that it all sounds like a bunch of stories. He would ask really interesting questions like, "why are there wars and evil in the world?" and I was going to open to 2 Nephi 2 to answer, but he shot off on a tangent with another good question I couldn't answer because of another question. But I found that I wasn't angry. I was just sad that he wouldn't let us give him help. Our lunch didn't open the door. It was with Hna. Andy`s wife. He got there 15 minutes later, without keys. He bought us 2 empanadas. Before we left, Elder Oversby politely asked him to give the Ward Mission Leader his time next week. Andy replied, "Elders, just work. That`s the secret. Are you upset I asked you to work the other night? I know my wife`s home. But she`s sad because of your pride, Elder Oversby." THen he called Oversby lazy. He seized Andy`s hand fiercely, and squeezed Andy`s shoulder. Hard. He thanked Andy for judging him, and told him to go home. He said, afterward, that he was really close to punching Andy in the face. Andy came over later and apologized. Oversby vented to the MIllahual family. They came to his rescue. I love them.

Saturday: We got up and went to the chapel to fill the baptismal font, but the heater didn't work. So the bishop said he`d call someone to fix it and we`d have the baptism tomorrow. We had lunch, and headed into the rain to do a lot of contacts and lessons. We worked hard, talking for 6 hours with people in the streets. The last hour or so, I found that I was sad. I felt something was missing. Fernanda was helping us, and we had a good time talking. I did miss being able to date, briefly, but that wasn't necessarily why I felt bad. We had been rejected by people for such a long time. I was soaked and cold. I felt like I was failing some aspect. When we got home (after making sure a drunk man found his way to his house safely) Elder Oversby wanted to talk with me about how I felt. I talked to him, and tried to think of what it might be that could be hurting me. I realized it was my High goals for myself. I was falling short, no matter how hard I worked. The people just wouldn't listen to us. We couldn't help them. I couldn't be the missionary I've become and there`s nothing I can do about it. And yet I feel guilty and responsible in some way. Following that train of thought led me to my last relationship, and how I didn't have a choice in that either. I sat down, and hugged my knees to my chest, and had a slight relapse of emotions of how I had felt in that difficult time. It wasn't pretty. But to come back out of all this, I thought of things that I could do that ARE in my control, and that I expect of myself and my life. Here comes list #2: Find comfort and measure success in myself; when tempted to anger, react instead with love and understanding; always appreciate the blessings in the present; love and marriage are of the utmost importance, and as such, cannot be easily conceived or controlled--much less predictable and culpable--and I will experience both in the Lord`s time; I will gain a desire for honest work by having the ability to see a need and follow Jesus`s example by performing genuine service; Dedicate one day a week to service to others; I will include the gospel in all aspects of life, and pray to receive the consecrating blessing of the Lord in any thing that I do; Become involved in the lives of others, and be an example and source of strength for people that need help; exercise regularly; give thoughtful advice; be patient in all things, whether it is waiting or acting with long-suffering; speak my mind openly and honestly; always pass on knowledge to the younger generation....

Sunday: We got up and went to fill up the (blessedly warm) baptismal font before coming back and getting ready. Then we went to look for Ignacia, our investigator, and bring her to Estefanìa`s baptism and church. She wasn't home. We went to the baptism. We were horrified to find Hna. Veronica had brought Estefanìa, but not Jonathan. They all live next to each other! But after the baptism, Jonathan came 20 minutes before church started on his own accord. He liked the feeling of the chapel and the meeting. there was a huge difference that he could FEEL. On a side note, mate (pronounced "mott-ay") has been banned. It is the most common drink of Chileans. It`s an herb you put in a cup, and suck it through a special, filtered straw. It`s bitter and wonderful. But zones who have already had interviews with President have been told that mate is out. I have no idea why, because we haven`t heard it from the Pres. yet.It can`t be because of the ingredients or anything. But apparently Richard G. Scott told all the mission presidents to stop mate. Maybe it`s to keep us from staying in houses too long. Maybe it`s for financial reasons. But I think it`s a good chance to see how obedient I am. I challenge people to quit smoking. I can do this, at least. all the other Elders are wether crying or plotting. I`m excited.


Monday: So I`m writing in my second journal! Incredible! I completed 6 months in the mission three days ago. It`s cool to think I've completed 1/4 of my mission already. we slept in until 9:00, and then just laid in bed. It felt deli9cious. I turned 20 years old today. This is where I am still young, but am beginning to grasp the understanding of decisions and blessings of liberty. We wrote the family. I had individual messages from everyone waiting for me. They had been thinking about me all week. Mama sent me some photos of the Halloween party they had thrown for the kids. They said that through the emails, it feels like I`m right there with them. Mama, Cassie, and Devin all got season passes to my home away from home, the Provo Rec. Center. They play racquetball and swim. In the evening, we visited Sonia & Ernesto. They gave us two complements each. Robin and Bilha were next. They got their first "Liahona" and we read with them and answered questions about temple service. Elder Oversby missed his old sector. He was depressed. When we went to the Millahual`s, he felt so loved and happy. We ended at Nestor`s. He gave me a third of his super-sugary cake, an entire dinner, followed by sugared strawberries. It was so much stinking food, I had to shove it in.

Tuesday: We had our Distrizona meeting today. But before that, I threw up some of the cake of the Devil from last night. Not that Nestor`s the Devil. That cake was just evil. You`ll have to take my word on that. We introduced ourselves to each other at Distrizona. We have 3 new missionaries in our zone. We practiced teaching the law of Chastity. Nailed it! (with the help of the Spirit) We had lunch in the house. It was a crazy soup with scary things in it, and a giant home-made bread. We ate the potatoes out of the soup, but nothing more. Elder Oversby had just bought butter, so we lunched on the bread. We set out to work in the afternoon. Since he doesn't know the sector very well yet, i was in charge. His Spanish isn't too good, and he`s a bit shy, so I got to talk to the people a lot more. We were both so excited to find people. And we totally did! We taught with power, authori8ty, and confidence. I was talking in Spanish a million miles an hour, and people listened. Liset, Katalina's sister, received the first lesson. She might be even more receptive than Katalina! Tonight, we went by Nestor, to teach his nieces and nephew. Actually, it was just the nieces there. Marian gave me a b-day present: a panda bear stuffed animal covered in perfume. It smells so good. we started the Book of Mormon from the beginning. Then they were like, "Do we have to stop?" Haha!

Wednesday: We got up today and actually left a little late. Lame. But we headed out to lunch early. Elder Oversby asked if we could do contacts nearby. Then I remembered a reference Hna. Veronica gave us. We visited him. His name is Jonathan. He knew the Church when he was 12. He`s received the missionaries 1 or 2 times. He told us he knew he wasn't ready to receive the gospel, and that he was ready now. So I invited him to get baptized. He said yes, but I saw coffee and cigarettes, so we`ll see. We big him farewell and went next-door, to lunch. We told Hna. Veronica the good news. She was so happy that she invited Jonathan for lunch too. That was awkward. We rested after wards and went out for contacts. I just think it`s so cool to think about the Lord`s timing. If he waits for the right missionary to come, or maybe a specific lesson needs to be learned. I don`t know. But that`s why I don`t get discouraged when contacts reject us. Their time will come if they trust in Heavenly Father. Elder Oversby is a little shy. So I've had the opportunity to mature and teach more. I've come a long way with the language. We went to Nestor`s to read in the Book of Mormon with Marian and Llamila. We did, and Nestor gave me an mp4 as a late b-day present! Ah! Elder Oversby and I discussed our conversion (true conversion) stories on the way home. I love feeling the love of the spirit.

Thursday: I was tired today. Elder Oversby and I have been walking a lot. But this morning, we finally got to see the end of the reparations on the house. But we had to spend all of the morning cleaning. We vacuumed with the broken vacuum, tried to clean off a brown stain from the white wall and found it had just never been painted at all, and found a syrupy liquid that was strawberry milk from July that had been in the fridge since then. Needless to say, our house smells better now. We had lunch with the Bishop. I wanted to ask how the matter with Nestor was going. You see, he was accused by someone of being gay and living with another man. We've been over there many times and know that`s not true. He does have co-workers living at his house, but he`s not gay. If the witness doesn't come to her interview (again), they`re just going to give Nestor his priesthood, finally. We did contacts before going to Jonathan. We decided to teach the word of Wisdom because we saw, and smelled cigarettes (be direct and speak boldly, huh?) But it went really well, actually. He had been hospitalized about a month ago, and they told him to stop drinking alcohol. He did it. And he told us he was thinking of quitting smoking too. So we were like "okay, miracles, anyone?" These people are such great examples to me. Would I be as willing to give up what I love, for God? Oh wait, I already did. Go missionary power!

Friday: I am so happy with this transfer and my companion. We got up and were working right away. We were out, talking enthusiastically with people. One guy opened the window, covered in sweat, and without a shirt and told us it was a bad time. I just thought he had been showering. But I decided it was sweat when I heard a girly giggle and he left. :O WE hiked through the beautiful green meadow with it`s rolling hills. It was a lot less pretty when it made us sweat. We interviewed Estefanìa for her baptism tomorrow. She smoked this morning! So we`ll wait a week. I think she forgot. She`s a little old and wants to quit. We went to the Chapel for the ward FHE. Nobody came. So that was wasted time. We went to the Millahual`s. I got sunburned pretty badly today. Fernanda was assigned to ice my neck. She even rubbed my neck to help my headache. It made me lonely and I asked her to stop. Elder Oversby and I talked about it on the way home. He asked if I was starting to like her. The question caught me off-guard, and I thought about it. I decidedly said that Heavenly Father was preparing my wife for me, so I`ll wait for her. Pres. says we won`t meet our wives here. As personal advice, Oversby told me not to lie to myself. It can hurt later. I think it`s a good piece of advice. I like being honest with myself, and knowing who I am in the eyes of my Heavenly Father.

Saturday: We had a cool contact. His name`ps Francisco. At first, he told us he wasn't interested in the church. He had already looked for the truth. He knew there was a god, but he couldn't understand his personality, couldn't put a name to it. He went off on the big bang, and molecular activity, marveling at God`s work. He seemed to really be looking. I told him, with all the sincerity I could muster, that he has a Father in Heaven who loves him. That he has a plan for Francisco`s life. I bore him the strongest testimony I could, trying to love him. He seemed a little surprised and touched at what I had said, and asked when our next meeting was, at church. The spirit helped me convince someone in Spanish! We talked to another boy who said he`d know the church someday. If he knew that he was going to die the next day, he`d be doing everything he could, for his salvation...just like we`re already trying to do! A lot of people tell us "they`re too busy right now." Would they say that to Jesus? It was fun to work with Elder Oversby. There was a really deaf guy, and all the nearby dogs were barking, so my giant companion took a deep breath, but a hand to his mouth, and started conversing politely with the man...belting out at the top of his lungs. Cliche' missionary desperation to help. (In "Young Frankenstein", the horses are afraid of the name of the maid "Frau Bluker" which means "glue factory." Glue is made from horse hooves!) We did 80 contacts today.

Sunday: Today I had a hard decision to make, and a lesson I learned making it. I cried after I realized how much weighed on me. But I was strengthened when I remembered that I am a representative of Christ, doing what he would do were he here. If I make a choice and wonder if it was the Holy Ghost or me, Elder Bednar says "quit worrying about it." I hope I chose right. Nestor`s nieces and nephew didn't come to church. He said he found them smoking with friends last night. He said something that translates to 2I hit them." I chose to interpret it as spanking, and thought him in the right. We passed by later on tonight. I was resolved to let them go, out of frustration. When we arrived, Guillermo showed me a text message he had received. It said, "Even though I may look fine, in my heart I`m very, very bad." He told me it was from Marian, using pointing to tell me.I thought for a while and said, " We've taught her everything she needs to live a happy life. But right now, we've pretty much finished." But when speaking Spanish, 3rd person can be the same as talking to someone respectfully. He stood up and left. Oversby told me he saw tears. I felt awful as I realized what I said. He thought I had been talking about him. I cried and Nestor took me to his room to talk and cheer me up. I returned to see Oversby talking 2/ Guillermo. He told me after, that all of them feel trapped by Nestor. The only listen to us to make him happy. We came home and decided to leave them. I don`t feel too bad, actually. The lord will take care of them. But Oversby and I had a cry together, hugging. And then we prayed that the nieces and nephew would be provided for. I have to admit, that when I heard about all this, what Nestor said to me this morning, about hitting them, suddenly gave me chills as I realized that it might not have been spanking.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Tuesday: the days just keep passing by, don`t they? I`m working harder now, but I just don`t think I`ll abe able to catch all the happenings of my mission, try as I might. We were o100% obedient today and yesterday. After our morning routine, we went to our Distrizona meeting. There we were separated into companions Senior and Junior. We learned that although we may have less time, should still set a good example and encourage our comps. to be the best they can abe! Then Elder Argueta had us do a practice. The sisters in our District have a 10-year old investigator who wants to be baptized, but her mom, whops a member, says her daughter isn`t responsible enough to make this decision. So I had to teach an Elder like he was the mom. Everyone said it went really well. I used a good balance of questions and teaching. We had an appointment with Nestor. We taught a little about the Priesthood...again. But it was good, because he`s getting interviewed to receive the Aaronic Priesthood tomorrow. He told us that he`s goping to bring his four nephews and neices to the church on Sunday! They`re really good kids. They`re thinkers. I HOPE they get Baptized. after lunch, we went to our appointments. All three fell through, so we did contacts. 3 muchachos told us to "walk ourselves to the shell of our mothers." That`s the worst swear word there is. Elder Argueta got TICKED and ran after them. Then he felt repentant and embarrassed. But we were blessed with a new investigator:Rubèn. He came out with puffy eyes. He had been crying. We started teaaching the plan of hapiness, reading from the book of mormon. He asked about adam and Eve a lot, and we helped him understand. He asked when he would get his book of Mormon, and what it was. So we introduced that, and ended up ajust teaching the Restoration. We have to do that every time. It`s our principal message. He asked questions, and we answered them accordingly, in a way that may have seemed random, but had an orderly, fluid feel to it. It was the Spirit. From the first moment I said, "aI testify," I felt it go OUT of me to him. He told us he wanted us to come back Thursday. We ended the night watching "charly" with aRobin and Bilha. I think it hit home, the importance of temple marriage.

Wednesday: Today was a pretty good day. I really like being safe in the knowledge that I`m doing all that I`m supposed to do. I had to mix "cookie crisp" and my choco. pillow cereals this morning. It wasn`t so good. We visited some inactive members in the morning abefore buying me some more cereal and stuff. We had some delicious soup for lunch with Hna. Anlli. Today they rescued the 33 miners that have been trapped in a crumabled mine since July. They took them out one by one, startying at miadnight, aand they finished at 8-ish this evening. I took a 15 minute nap before we went soul-huntinag. We had two out of 3 appointments fall through. Actually only one. The almost fail was dumab. She is 19-years olod, and accepted us testerday while breast-feeding her baby. Awkward! But when we actually taught her today, she didn`t even ahve faith...in anything. So after five minutes, trying ato get her to answer SOME question and failing, we left. We went to Alejandra. She looks 10-ish and lifçves with her baby. She thought abouat her answers, and they were good ones! It reminded me of Nestor. She`s going to read and pray about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. We also tauaght her about the Law of Chastity, because she has a aboyfriend who works away from the house. We have to get them married! After that, we had a family home evening with Pedro and Cristina, wataching "charly".a They were all crying and having celestial desires. It was beautiful. But I realized something today. Elder argueta and I walk really fast everywhere we go. It`s just what missionaries do. But it`s not natural. I actually have to focus on my speed. and because of that, the time flies. That, and the cramp in my shin muscle. We did more permanaced tonigbht, and found a possible future investigator named Ana. It`s going to be a good transfer after all!

Thursday: Today was really ianteresting. But nothing cool happened in the morning. We DID do ouar weekly planning, though. It was cool to abe able to put up more names on our aboard of investigators than we`ve had in a while. Nestor told us he`s going to bring his neices and nephews to church on Sunday. I`m excited for them. We were really excited to go teach Rubèn today as we paut his name up on the wall. aBut after our plannaing, Elder Lisonbee and I invented a new sport. It`s called "kick-the-ball". We found a styrofoam basketball and decided to kick it to each other until we had lunch. We`re going to keep scaore until I leave in two months. We had lunch a little early so we could go and visit a reference the Bishop had given us. She wasn`t there and I came home to take a 30 min. nap abefore we went proselyting. Our first appointment was with Rubèn. His heart seemed a little bit harder than it did during our last visit. He hadn`t read or prayed about the Book of Mormon. And after reading a chapter with him, he said he thought it was "our version" of the Bible. Turns out a lot of churches have done stuff like this, and written their own books. I don`t think he understands that this book was found in the GROUND and translated in 2 months by a 24-year old youth who had never studied reformed egyptian. It certainly SOUNDS like a unique situation. But Ruabèn KNOWS the Sabbath is on Saturday,m so that`ll be hard. aBut he said he`ll come to churcah next Sunday, to inavestigate. Then we did some contacts. Nobody wanted to answer. Elder Argueta and I split up to do contacts faster. The first door opened to me a cop...who had been sleeping. He was cranky and told me he was catholica. Later, Elder argueta called me fat, and I told him to punch me in the gut. He did, and I witheld the blow, and then he punched me again, and I resisted once more. Then we heard a knock aona a nearaby windo to see an old lady had been weatching us. We both walked away laughing. We had our ward leader meeting, and then went to an appointment. It failed, so, depressed, awe went and ate completos. yum. (Elder Maxwell said, "That if the chandces of the big bang happening were paut into an analogy, it would abe as unlikely as a tornado passing through aa junkyard and assembling a 747 fighter jet.")

Friday: Today was a day of learning. It started in the morning, during study. As I was reading, I thought about some of our Doactrines as a churach. I thought of some things that merely seemed like clever philosophy tricks. Like, "be oabedient and obey the rules, and great sotres of knowledge will be yours." That includes studying. duh. That`s just one example of the thoughts that I thought about. But Elder Lisonbee told me about a talk aby Hna. Swenson about truth. Your knowledge is a circle. It has some "x`s" inside and out. The "x`s" can maove into the circle by can`t leave. aThe "x`s" in the circle are things athat we know. We can ignoare them and deny them, but we can`t change their true nature as we`ve come to know them. The "x`s" ouatside are things we don`t know yet. But they`ll come. You just need to use the things you know, whenever you want to learn new things. that helped. Tahen we did contacts. On a random street, some guy said, in English, "hello. I`ve been expecting you." It turned out that it was the reference we were going to contact at 6. aBut it`s a good thing we found him because our address we had was incorrect. DIVINE INTERVENTION!!! His name`s Franco. He`s French, abut also speaks Spanish, Vietnamese, and English. He has 2 attendances at Church as well as a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. He just needs help quitting smoking. we had lunch then a lesson with Alejandra. She had read and prayed abouat the ABook of Mormon and thinks it`s true. But she`s not gonna come to church with us because she has to go to her acatholic church at 11. Hello?! it`s OUR freakin` book you said was true. Then, in the middle of the plan of Salvation, her boyfriend awalked in, after being away for a week. So we had to areteach the Restoration and it was just complicated. We may have lost her. But we have an appointment for next Friday. I helped Osvaldo with English homework before we went to the FHE at the chapel to watch "Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration." Franco wasn`t home when we went to pick him up. Lame. I hope everything hoes well with Nestor`s nephews and neices.

Saturday: Today was a pretty fun day..and paroductiave! We started aby playing soccer with the youth of our wards. And we had a 12-year old investigator named cesar come. aWe met him and his Grandma last night. They`ll be coming to churach tomorrow. We all came home and showered off I wasn`t feeling very good. I had churrete (no I`m not going to translate that.) But we left to have lunch with Hna. Heredia. It was chicken and riace...abut fancy. Then we had kiwi for dessert. We got a lot of our contacts done and went to go see Franco and Rodrigo. rodrigo wasn`t there, again, but we spoke with franco some more. He usually smokes 40 cigarettes a day, but aby 5 in the afternoon, he had only smoked 3! We enlightened him about coffee and tea, aboth of which he has problems with. But he committed to try and quit. I got to do all of it in english. It was weird. We made little signs to hang up in his room saying things like, "I can do it!" or "I will stop smoking." I think he acan quit. We`ll abring a member by, who`s been through all of this before That will help him know that what he`s doing is possible. 3/a4 of our appointments for the afternoon failed. The last one was Nestor, so we weren`t wooried. but we had plenty of time to do our contacts and talk with each other. In the course of our random conversations, Elder Argueta told me that he likes me. Not in a lovey way. The literal translation would be, "I fall good to him." Let`s just say I`m in his good graces. We talked with an adventist and she told us all the reasons why we should meet on saturday. I hated the doubt she put in my mind. But this week, I have had the opportunities to rely on my testimony as an actual source of strength. We had dinner with Nestor and his family. We were going to teach, but they put a movie on during dinner and we ended up watching it.a But we taught about the sabbath day, and they said they`ll come tomorrow. Franco and rodriago will come too!

Sunday: We got up thismorning, and went to churach. We picked up Franco on the way. He had smoked 13 cigarettes yesterday, failing his goal. But we`re hoping today! While we were in SAcrament meeting, I realized what I have to let go of to be a better missionary and stop being homesick! it hit me when I was thianking of my new bishopric that had been changed right abefore I liaft. I still don`t know the Bishop very well. Buat it was a CHANGE. I`ve always abeen good with achange because I always had reasearched and learned about something abeforehand. I`m homesick abecause I`m afraid things are going to change, and I won`t know about them. I`ll miss out on all the things I COULD have done. Taoday I told myself, "Stop it. You need to let go of all of this worry and focus on the people." After that thought, the aBishop approached me with Bilha at his side and asked me to give Maria Paz a name and a blessing in Sacrament meeting. Psh! I had to give a lifelong blessing in a different language. No pressure. But it showed how much their family (Robin and Bilaha) trusts me. Then I realized something else. Remember the talk about going to the edge to experience the blessings of Christ?a I think, abecause of my recent struggles with Elder Argueta, Heavenly Father has given me Franco as a witness of blessings. aHe loves gringos. He loves the gospel and has a testimony. But he wasn`t abaptizaed yet. He told me today he wants me to baptize him. He just has to astay clean. We had lunch with Robin and Bilha, with delicious cake to celebrate Marìa Paz`s 5th birthday. yum. After that, Elders Argueta and Garcia went to visit some converts of theirs in lautaro. Elder Lisonbee and I helped mama maite find the house of a mnember before we did contacts. We completed all of ours before working in his and garcia`s sector. We taught a man, using the bible, that Jesus Christ formed his own church. he said "that`s nice, but I don`t think he did." we were like, " we just read that off the pages of the bible!" He was weird. We ended with a visit to Nestor and his neices and nephews. The liked church. We`ll teach them Tuesday

Monday, October 11, 2010


Monday: We got up very well today. Elder Lisonbee got up first and ate oreos and chocolate milk before coming back to bed. Then Argueta and Garcia went on splits to visit their converts. When Lisonbee and I got up together, he had eggs and I had cookie crisp. Healthy! We got suited up and went to the Stack Center to play soccer. Nobody was there, and the ones who had been, had left to buy a ball. So it was just the two of us. We were walking around and heard a squawking noise. We looked, to see a nearby bird on the ground, guarding her eggs. Elder Lisonbee broke out his camera, put on his best Australian accent, and began narrating about the "red-eyed squawker" protecting it`s young. As we got closer, it got louder. We didn't think anything of it until we looked up and saw about 10 other birds circling above us. Then they swooped. They dove at us, and we ran away screaming. Later when I had to get the soccer ball near the bird, it didn't make a sound. Bu as I walked calmly back, everyone yelled, "duck!" I did, and saw a freaking triangular delta formation fly above my head. Then, still later, the mom yelled, and the Dad bee-lined it for me. it was a very exciting soccer game. We made home-made completes, which were awesome. Then we went to write the family. We spent the night at the Millahual`s. Elder argueta talked and listened to Maite, and I helped Octavio and Fernanda read the Book of Mormon in English. I also tried helping Osvaldo understand a little about the Plan of Salvation. He flared up instantly, and demanded Scriptures from the Bible, because the Book of Mormon doesn't exist. He`s 14 and hates the Church. I didn't have the necessary knowledge to help him tonight. I just know the book of Mormon ones. he has a hard heart.

Tuesday: Good thing I`m a missionary. We got up and went to the Distrizona meeting. We really wanted to focus on putting baptismal dates with the people who are showing interest and are coming to church. We all had to prepare a lesson, and thankfully the companionship that had to give theirs wasn't us. We, as a district, wanted to make sure we`re planning correctly. In my agenda, Elder Reeves, who was checking mine, found something that I had written that I wanted to do when I got home, that I haven`t done since I was little, and I realized something. For the first time in my life, I`m not looking to the future. A lot of the things on my to-do list are actually things I've already done, and miss. In the Pre-mission life, I was always looking for the next thing. But now I am grateful for this realization of my life. I have a new goal. I`m going to live a good and quality life. Not by the things I have, neither by my accomplishments. Oh, I just realized that before I complete that goal, I want to define for myself what a quality life is. Obviously loving and serving others. But I want to make it MINE. For me, the greatest craving of the human Character is to be wanted and appreciated. So, logically, the most satisfying service would come from filling that need. We taught Nestor, and ran a bunch of Errands before ending the night at Robin and Bilha's. After the spiritual thought, Robin showed us videos of Ghosts. Since I've been particularly interested in the spiritual part of our existence, I was curious to apply this new perspective to the thought of ghosts. It didn't help. I still got really creeped out by the footage. There are some types of fear, like when someone jumps out at you. But then there`s the kind that lingers and tarries inside of you. That`s the fear I felt. Elder Argueta was super playful today, and took advantage to scare me a few times. I`m glad I`m an elder, because I have a safe home and worthy friends.

Wednesday: Today was an off-day, but not necessarily bad. We got up and had our studies. Elder Lisonbee showed me some pictures of his family, too. We left to look for pants for Nestor, because he`s bigger than the average disciple. We had asked around for a place to buy white pants,and in return and received several ascertain directions for a store called Bombay. When we found it (finally) in the busy centro, we found it to sell solely shirts. So we went to hunt down another store, and bought them for the equivalent of $20.00. That`s extensive for a missionary. I had to pay for them. Then, on the bus, Argueta asked for $10.00. I had been complaining and worrying about my lack of money, so I hoped he knew I couldn't do it if it wasn't important. He took the $10.00 and gave me a $20.00 to make it as though we had split the bill. It reminded me of the story where the girl is asked by her father to give him the pearl she loves so much. Sh finally does, and he gives her a whole necklace! So that was cool. We had lunch with Hna. Veronica. She served us ice cream for dessert. It was such a contrast between Chilean food that I've grown accustomed to. The ice cream was FAMILIAR. I think I`m going to enjoy eating when I get home. :) We came home and rested before heading out to work. We visited some members and a really cool contact that we had met last Thursday that wants to talk with us. She`s really nice. Her name`s Rosanna. We did contacts near the edge of our sector for a few hours. We found two really cool people that we`ll visit. One guy I didn't understand, and thought was angry. Elder Argueta really likes him, and says he`ll be baptized. We also found a nice lady that lives on the street, "King Limhi" that we`ll teach too. We did a check-up on a contact, Sergio, before coming home I`m getting better at contacts and talking more. I feel like I`m learning and working more, now, than I did with Barajas. This morning, Elder Argueta made me find 5 members houses that were close together. I haven`t looked at the streets before. So I spent the next 40 minutes with my head tilted all the way back, and to the left, looking at the map on the ceiling. Oi.

Thursday: We woke up today, and I spent the morning studying Scripture Mastery with Elder Lisonbee. We memorized 40 Scriptures and references. But we still need 30 more before tomorrow. We did some grocery shopping before lunch with the Bishop. I really like that lunch. After we left, Elder Argueta that he really likes how our Bishop does what he`s supposed to. I told him that all the bishops in Utah are like that. That made me start missing home a little. We went to the centro, to wait for President Jimenes, who was going to bring us "Charley" to watch with Robin and Bilha, and Pedro and Cristina. But he called us and said he`d be late. So we spent time at the Mapuche Market, buying souvenirs for Elder Argueta. I got myself a homemade wool bag. It has a Llama on it. We got the movie and headed back to the house to get things ready to work. I got our list all ready for permanence, as well as wrote the progressing investigators sheet for our committee tonight. One of the sisters we visited doesn't seem to know much about the church. She wined to us for 20 minutes how nobody visits her, and that we (the missionaries) don`t count. And when we prayed she would mumble things like the Baptists. Not a very strong convert. After contacts, and committee, we helped the sister missionaries teach their investigator, Lorenzo, about the Priesthood. He really wants to change, but has a problem with drinking. We talked to him, and then gave him a blessing for strength. Elder Argueta even said something about his life before this one. It was really neat. Then our ward mission leader, Josè Morales, talked with him about his feelings of friendship. It was really cool. I think the blessing really helped.

Friday: Today we had a really good conference. We went and got to listen to the new missionaries present themselves. the last one, a gringo, wsanted to tell us he had a good trainer, or "father." But instead of "papà", he said "papa." He told us he was grateful for his potato. It was a wee bit funny. We had some delicious mashed potatoes and chicken for lunch. President Swenson gave us a really, really good talk in the afternoon. He started out by telling us that everyone can change. That all the decisions that we make, big and especially little, are things that make us who we are. This obviously piqued my interest because of my past experiences. He told us that WHO WE BECOME WILL BE OUR LIFE`S GREATEST WORK. And all that entails depends on the little decisions we make every single day. We become who we want to be, not who we SAY we want to be. We told us that those things we do change our lives: happy or sad, friendly or solitary, captive or free. And he went on a tangent about addictions. He told us that the little decisions we make to get to that point aren't anything spectacular. But once you`re there, you`re trapped. You`re a slave. but he said that it`s a decision to keep doing it. Nobody is just "born that way." That would be neglecting the Atonement. I just felt so good when I remembered my own personal struggles. Progressing little by little, not giving up, and I DID IT!!! I left the temptation behind by force of will and prayer. I broke free of those chains. Then he touched on qualities of good missionaries. I`m under the best one, and haven`t achieved it because this is still a sacrifice for me. The best missionary has consecrated his heart to the work. I still miss home and think of it at times. But I work, and am obedient. I just am subconsciously holding back. President said that the desire of consecration comes with time. We did Nestor`s interview. He passed and chose me to baptize him tomorrow. And his pants fit! We picked up our laundry and the sister, who had received my first Priesthood blessing in Spanish on Tuesday, had recovered in two days from a sickness that`s lasted almost a month. I healed someone!

Saturday: today was a really good day. We woke up and did our exercises and everything. I love my chocolate pillow cereal that has frosting inside. MMM! During our companionship study, we had our inventory. We said things we liked about each other and things we could improve on. He wants me to take more charge. I think I can do more, but I hold back because he`s senior companion, and because the things he expects me to do are things. I haven`t learned yet. I have a lot to learn. But my practices are getting better. We visited Robin`s mom in the Hospital. She had surgery a few days ago. She may have hated the Church at one point, but when she saw us come in, her face just lit up. It was a nice visit. We went to the mall, to get some things, and didn't have much time left to fell the font. But as we were walking back, all the traffic lights turned green RIGHT when we got there. Coincidence? I think not! We got to the chapel and had the baptism of Nestor a while later. I went into the baptism waters. It was warm, and Nestor came down to me with a smile on his face. I baptized him and gave him a hug. To celebrate we had alfajores and Chocolate milk. But, before long, we picked up our britches and went to work. Oh! Before I forget. Nestor bore his testimony afterward. He said all the typical stuff, and then told us about his day. He went to his dentist office to work like any other day, in the morning. But right before his baptism, more people came than ever have before, so he almost missed it. you`d think that would be the end of Satan`s tricks but during the actual blessing, I had a brief moment where I COULDN'T speak. It was so cool! I was like Joseph Smith. But then I got the rest out, and it was cool. Well, it was bad too. But the potential that every person has (Nestor especially) is astounding. We did our contacts and found a few people. We had dinner with Nestor and his nieces and Nephews. they`re our age. It was like a nice trip home, with my friends, except their Argentina accent was hard. bu tit`s alright. We had fun. Right now, I`m 2 hours ahead of Utah, but at midnight I`ll be 4 hours ahead!

Sunday: Today kind of sucked. Badly. But it got better, don`t worry. We got up and went to work with our studies. I`m about 3/4 done with "Jesus the Christ." We went to church and I collaborated my to-do list with that of Elder Lisonbee. It became pretty random, and made me excited. Nestor had to go home early because it turns out he`s allergic to wheat. Elder argueta had to drive the car for him. It was his first time in two years and he was positively twitterpated when we walked back to church. I told him kissing women will probably take him for a ride. After church, we had lunch with Robin and Bilha. It has been quite a few days since we've visited them. All went well until we left. As we were walking, Elder Argueta told me he was going to write the President tomorrow. I said he should do that every week. He said it was something important and severe. He said it was about our companionship. Then he told me he didn't trust me. Just like that! He wanted to ask President to change us. I mean COME ON! What had I done? He didn't even have a reason, either! We went to a priesthood meeting in silence. I was angry, actually. I had spoken honestly with him from day 1. It turns out he didn't trust me to be subtle. I would say things that just weren't professional or appropriate (i.e. asking how many contacts we had ,when in front of present company). But during the conference, I had AWFUL thoughts. If I was really THAT bad, I thought to myself I don`t deserve to be here. I was considering asking President to send me home. I was depressed. I was lost. And I thought that even if he did forgive me, I would have to do something to make it up to him. I didn't know what that would be, and just thought it would be better to wallow in misery alone, and not bug anyone else. I could live with that. It may have been a spiritual attack, but it might have been low and hurt self-esteem too. But we went to the house to work things out. He explained why he didn't trust me, as I have already explained. I asked a lot of questions how to improve. He gave me very thoughtful responses with follow-up questions I had to help him with. I especially like his answer to my question, "How do I conquer the Natural man and become a missionary of Christ?" He said, " Search to earn the trust of God always." I think I`ll do that.


Monday: Today was a really cool day. We got to go with our investigator to a pretty waterfall named "the princess waterfall". It was really special and pretty. It even had a secret cave behind it that we went into. That`s how we spent our pday, as well as saying goodbye to some families for Barajas.

Tuesday: Today was a fun day. Well the beginning wasn`t so fun, because I had to say goodbye ot Barajas...and carry his fat suitcase. But we got to the terminal and just sat there until Elder Hawker got there. He broke out a mate and all the elders flocked to him and socialized. But the time eventuyally came when Elder Barajas had to leave. He started walking away confidently, carrying his bags with ease. I realized I wasn`t going to see him for two years and began to get teary. I really teared up when he got to the bus and looked around at me. I was about to have a really beautiful moment. But Then Rodriguez tackled me and said the Spanish equivolent of, "Hey dude, shut up and pose so I can take a picture." I had a moment, captured on digital film even, But the beautiful part was gone. things were pretty uneventful after that. I read "Jesus the Christ" for a while and talked with missionaries. One Sister has a brother that was married in the temple 5 years ago, and now he and his wife are aetheist. She said their hearts are pretty hard. I told her about the miracles of Elder Barajas`s mom. I think it helped. In fact, I was about to have another moment when it was suddenly (and randomly) ruined when I looked to a nearby bench at the bus terminal to see a woman breast-feeding her baby in public! I almost gave myself whiplash, I looked away so fast. Everñyone else was surprised I lasted so long without seeing one yet. Elder Argueta arrived eventually, and he`s awesome. He GETS it like Hawker does! We came home to unpack, and left soon after. We just visited some members tonight. We talked to hna. Sonia, listened to Hna. Maite`s baptism history of her family, and visited Robin and Bilha. In all of them, he just had something in the way he talked and focused that made him appear in control always. And when he taught, it was with a simple humility that seemed to reverberate with a quiet authority that was not to be questioned. And as I thought about it, those are the perfect qualities of the Savior. Whether he was humbly teaching, cleansing the temple in a righteous fury, or patiently suffering: He was always the master. I`m excited for this transfer.

Wednesday: Sometimes, in the mission, there are times when you just want to go out and baptize the world. Right now, I want to take a nap. Today was the first day of the "week of Sanctification." As the first week of the transfer, we do 200 contacts instead of 140. Elder Barajas and I never completed it. I couldn`t really do anything to help because of my lack of experience and the language. So obviously we fell short. This week, because of conference, we only have 3 days to do all 200! So after we got out of our Distrizona meeting, we went to lunch. Elder Argueta LOVES Hna. Veronica! They just talked and laughed together like old friends. Then we came back, got our stuff, and headed out to do work. He doesn`t know the sector very well, so I had to choose where to start our butt-load of contacts. We did it right near the house, because I have ver done it before today. So we went up and down the streets touching all the doors and inviting people to conference. It was really cool to say something other than, "come to church" like everyone else, and say, " a prophet of God is going to give us a very special message, just like in the old days and you can test him yourself!" And Elder argueta has the same work ethic of Elder Hawker. So contacting was really fun to do today, to have the opportunity to learn from him. He gave me some really good advice to live by. I can`t remember what it was at the moment, but I`m sure a little red flag will go up sometime. We visited Pedro and Cristina and Argueta loved them too. we went there so we could get to know their neighbor a little bit who I`ve seen on and off. We`ll teach her the restoration on Friday. then we went to the Millahual`s to celebrate Argueta`s birthday. He certainly earned it. He really likes Octavio. Those two had a really good time tonight. Last night, Argueta thought the Millahual`s were odd. There were, so I gave them this second chance. Now he loves them. We`re going to do even more contacts tomorrow. Ooph! I`m so excited to get into bed!

Thursday: So I woke up this morning and improvied some dumbells out of a propane tank and a broom handle. It weas perfect. I was dismayed to find out that I had left my "Jesus the Christ" at the bus terminal and couldn`t read it anymore. This morning, we also had the unique privelage to go to the Stake Center, and teach Theology classmates of Fernanda. She`s not studying theology, but she invited all her girl friends to come ask us questions. It was a really cool experience to be compared to the other churches, and have the ability to answer EVERYTHING. Plus some things they had never heard before. I really liked talking about the gift of tongues. Some churches here believe the givt of tongues is in effect if someone starts screaming, "hoop-hoop nanny-nanny blahblahblah!" at the top of their lungs. That`s called a mental case of the crazies. I told them I had only been speaking spanish for a few months, and they thought I had a few years under my belt. I have to admit that my metaphorical chest swelled a bit at that. We had lunch with Hna. Anlli, whom Elder Argueta liked a lot. Then we did a TON of contacts and walking. We knocked on a lot of doors, but nobody "was home", so we couldn`t count them. We worked hard with not a lot of results, and I was worried we wouldn`t make it in time. Usually, my internal clock is right on. It has been my entire mission. And in that moment when I thought we were low on time, We actually had a whole extra hour. Maybe I lost track of time, but I`m never that far off. Because of our diligent, hard work, we were blessed with the ability to finish. We helped an old lady carry firewood to her house. that felt good. We had our ward meeting, before leaving to teach Jeniffer. She received the first lesson very well, I think. She was very receptive. On the way home, Elder Argueta gave me helpful advice on how to improve in things other than teaching. He doesn`t want to be asked permission or anything. I start the lessons. I choose where to go. He wants to prepare me. I`m so grateful for this chance to learn, change, and grow.

Friday: Today was tiring. We walked a lot. But we had good experiences too. When I woke up it was cold, and I was shivering so much that I had difficulty doing push-ups and exercising in general. But I had a fun study session theorizing about the urim and thummim and the Holy Ghost. but I just felt so inadequate in the comp. study. Elder Argueta had a whole bunch of counsel to give me. I don`t mind receiving instruction on how to improve. Who wouldn`t want to change for the better? I just hated how MUCH I realized I have to change. Things that Elder Barajas and I did that I thought were normal are things we shouldn`t be doing (i.e. spending so much time with members). Which I hate, because they`re things that I should have realized. I just felt very unsure this morning. but we got the list of members and headed out in search of the streets of less-active people. Elder Argueta doesn`t know the area, so it was up to me to lead, and lead I did. We walked and talked to a bunch of people to invite them to hear a prophet`s voice. We visited with non-members. And we found one or two people (5 actually) who seemed genuinely interested in coming, and we put follow-up appointments with them. Then we taught Nestor. Elder Argueta said, afterward, that he`s practically a gift. We went though the baptism interview and he did awesomely. But he had a question. He had been reading the Book of momon (what a stud) and was wondering about tattoos. We found out he had 32...in color. They`re beautiful things of Japan he got becuase of Tai chi. We said he was alright. we did a lot of contacts and taught some people we had found on Wednesday. Some didn`t have time, but we`ll follow up with them. At the end of the night. I told Elder Argueta that I had had a problem with my self-esteem a while ago, and that I had searched to find myself, and I did. He said I didn`t seem like I had problems. I think Heavenly Father has already been helping me! I`m changing.

Saturday: Today waws a good day. We got up, and did our individual studies before doing some practices. Apparently it`s something we have to do every morning, and I haven`t done it for a while. But I gave it a shot and taught my comp. that was eager to make it difficult for me. I struggled with the language, and with the lesson itself even more. I felt like I didn`t have the answers to his questions. In the end, I felt like garbage. And on that not-so-happy note, we did divisions with Querihue to help them pick up some investigators. I went with Lane Lisonbee from Highland. He`s a super cool missionary and person. We talked and joked on the way and the investigators didn`t even "have time" to go until tomorrow. So we took a micro to the Stake Center ande listened to Conference in a little room where we coul dhear the broadcast in English. Elder Holland went first. He thanked the "helpers" of the church, who may not have had the chance to be leaders. But he also said some randome things and one of them reminded me of Daddy. His parents made sacrifice`s during his mission so he could have a good start when he got back. He expressed great love and affection, that I wanted to give to my Daddy. I wanted my parents to know how much I loved them. But I coulnd`t, so I cried and prayed to heavenly Father for comfort. Another talk spoke of a daughter apo9logizing to her Daddy. Her Daddy was touched by her love and faith for the Gospel. I just wanted a little daughter of my own to tell her, anyone realy, how much I loved them. I just wanted to love someone. It was so strong, that, surrounded by all my hapy friends with the same goal, I felt alone. I just didn`t have what I felt I needed. So in the interval, I excused myself to a room apart from everyone, and offered a prayer of earnest desire to share my feelings with my father. *shaky sigh* it was a very intimate and sacred experience to present myse3lf before him and tell him of my personal feeliongs of sadness, but mostly the appreciation and grattitude I had for the sAvior and how he knows my pains, and I don`t have to worry myself. I asked for help with my burden, and tonight Elder Lisonbee and I had a very personal talk about ourselves and feelings we needed. Through that talk, Heavenly Father gave me a new friend.

Sunday: Today was the second and final day of General Conference. Thankfully, I had some leftover peanuts to enjoy during the sessions. I didn`t really want to be with Elder Argueta today, so I studied near Elder Lisonbee, and we passed the time well, occasionally having a friendly exchange of words. As we went to conference, Elder Argueta and I spoke constantly, and the language was not a barrier. In fact, when I greeted a brother form the ward that I had not seen since the past Sunday, he said that mhy Spanish had greatly improved. We listened to conference with open hearts and minds. Something that I noticed about President monson, because of his talk last night, as well as today, is his mannerisms seem to have changed. He spoke noticeably more emphatically and instructively. and something just seemed darker about his message of warning last night. I don`t think he smiled once, as is his wont. but he was much brighter today, and I enjoyed his talk on grattitude. I came out of the English room to talk with Argueta. He said Nestor had called and said he couldn`t come becuase he would be in argentina until November. I panicked until nestor walked out of the nearby bathroom, ruining the joke. He had cried at Pres. Monson`s words, and had felt "pierced." WOW! We enjoyed the evening with Nesotr, and he even showed us some youtube videos of his tai chi studies. Afterward, A
rgueta told me he gave up. That he had tried to help me, but would now stop working. I still have no idea what he`s trying to teach, but I just became senior companion. I still don`t know how to do this stuff! My trainer was a little lazy. Ugh! I don`t think I like argueta very much. His methods of helping me are just humiliating at times. But Elder Lisonbee and I had cokies with Chocolate milk while we talked about home and random activites on our to-do lists. He`s a good man with a great sense of humor. I`m grateful for his help Heavenly Father has given me.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tuesday: Today was a really good day. I don`t know why, I just feel good. We got up and went to our Distrizona meeting. I love all the goofy elders here. We talked about our investigators and other things that will happen. Not particularly exciting. We left early so we could do a little grocery shopping before our appointment with Nestor at 1. We got it all done, but Elder Barajas realized he only had $6,00 pesos ($12) left for the month. I only have about $20,000 ($40) left. Because of the travel and food costs things are going to be tight. I`ll probably have to use my own account this month. We went and taught Nestor the plan of salvation. That`s always my favorite lesson to teach, because it`s so full of hope and pure knowledge. And whenever we teach pure doctrine, we are teaching Christ and inviting his spirit in the lesson. And this lesson was packed with it. Nestor was on the edge of his seat as we illustrated the journey he would complete one day. We asked inspired questions and he replied with surprisingly profound answers. This guy has been to almost every church here in chile, and he KNOWS when something sounds right. And he told us today that he`s talked to missionaries of those churches. But ever since the missionaries came, he`s been "interested" for the first time by any of the others. He`s so in tune with his feelings, and just has this knack to discern truth subconsciously. It`s unreal. We tried to put a date with him for september, but he said two weeks felt too soon. He told us that he for sure wanted to get baptized, but he was waiting for a certainty. He did say he`ll get baptized in october. I told him to pray tonight, aloud, for the feeling of peace and certainty, and that his Heavenly FAther will help him press forward. We came home, and I bought us lunchy because Elder Barajas doesn`t have money. We visited Hna. Sonia tonight. Ernesto is in the Hospital with some blood problem. I think he had another heart attack too. Her granddaughter was there too. When we got there we asked Sonia how she was. She said "bad." We offered to help with something. She said, "no." Then Elder Barajas offered to make her bread. She got really excited and said, "you know how?" He replied yes, but in english he told me not really. When I started hleping, she asked if I had before. I said no, and she told me I seemed like I had done it for years. PWN`d!

Wednesday: We got up this morning, and hustled off to our special training conference. I notice, now, as I go to these meetings I recognize the other Elders and they recognize me. It may not seem like anything big, but it gives me a sense of familiarity and afety. We said our hellos and sat down to begin. President gave us two items of warning: The first was to earn the respect of the members. Don`t dawdle at their homes like friends. We`re representatives of christ, and have to work hard. The second was flirting. He said he received a letter from a mom of a daughter with whom an elder had been courting. She had pictures of them hugging and everything. President said, "And where was his companion?" That`s just weird to me. I`m not attracted to latinas, so I`m safe. I`ve told Elder Barajas before that I`m lucky I got sent to a country where I`m not tempted by girls. The assisstants went through the august statistics. As a mission, we had 100 baptisms exactly. We received other training before we had an activity. It was a mix of scripture master (from preach my gospel), 3-legged race, and musical chairs. The assisstants would read a scripture while we stood in the middle, and when we found that same scripture in our books we`d run (hop, really) to our chairs. There were always less chairs than people, so you get the idea. Tonight, we were suddenly called to help the brothers with something. It was a rehearsal to practice dancing the cueca: the national dance of Chile. But it made me angry because they refused to teach us. They turned on the music and told us to all dance together. Of course it looked horrible, and they kenw it. When I asked for help, they told me to look at my neighbor. So I had to do the whole thing looking at some guy`s incredibly complicated footwork, and try to copy him AFTERWARD, instead of us being in sync. That`s one thing more about who I am: I hate looking stupid. The dance isn`t hard. I could do it if it was explained. But they wouldn`t After the training today, and having failed so badly at dancing, I wanted to go teach Papà Joel, `cause it was something I thought I could WIN at. But I realized, with a shamed heart, that I was having proudk unchristlike thoughts. So I cried on the inside and repented and asked for the spirit that I lost. It came. But we still stayed away from Joel.

Thursday: During contacts we ran into a drunk guy. He started talking to us and we soon realized he was talking AT us. He did so for 15-20 minutes before we tried to go. He started getting offended and said god would give him time. We said that we`re not god and we had other appointments. We went to Lider to get me a new "bicentennial" mug (`cause Elder Barajas broke my other one.=. And we had to go across the street, or copies of a paper. While there, we met a lady who told us, for SOME reason, that she was trying to quit smoking. We gave her some info, got her address, and are going to give her to the sister missionaries. (for a contact, we weeded out thorns for a lady. When we left, we gave her a pass-along card of christ. she took it and said, "oh! so this is Josph smith?" We told her, "No that`s Jesus."

Friday: Today was a really great day. Tomorrow is the 18th of September, the independance day of Chile. Won`t have to work tomorrow, because Pres. said we could have our p-day then and work on monday. I think it`s `cause the whole country will be drunk. Not an exaggeration. Not a lot happened today, actually. Just a LOT of walking. we actually got up late today. We did some studying before we got ready and headed out to lunch. We ate with the Bishop`s family. We spent the majority of the afternoon going to people`s houses to tell them about the Ward activity that would start at 5. We didn`t have minutes on our phone. A lot of people didn`t come, but we accompanied Hna. Sonia. Her husband, Ernest, is still in the Hospital but her sister from Santiago is visiting, as well as her granddaughter, who are both non-members. The activity was a great success! Lots of people were there! Even Robin and Bilha managed to bring Bilha`s mom. Chile really knows how to party. The flag was hanging up, and mini ones were strewn all around the little cultural hall. It just looed so festive. I played ping pong for a while (the churches don`t here don`t have basketball hoops, they have ping pong tables), before the dances started. The dances are different here. They tell a story. The national dance of Chile is about the man chasing the girl and getting rejected until she accepts him. They have another one where the men dance around the flag. Elder Barajas and I had to do it with another guy. I thought I messed up, but I got about 5 compliments on my "zapatillo"--a stoping part of the dance. The compliments were all specifically that. After we walked home, we realized we had left the keys in the Chapel. So we walked all the way back. (This morning, I put on a song that I like, and Barajas doesn`t--but we both dance to. So I danced in one room (the one with the ipod) and he danced on the other side of the hall, above the stairs. I turned around, and heard him throw something down. I went to get it and asked what it was. He said, "I don`t know, but you`re locke dout now." And he locked me out, and changed the song.)

Saturday: Today was the 18th of september, the independance day of Chile. It was also our day off (for reasons unknown). We enjoyed sleeping in without feeling guilty. Then we kinda just laid around the house for a while. That was something that was nice. Something I haven`t done in a while. We headed to the MIllahual`s first. Elder Barajas told me that if a house isn`t decorated, the police will give them a ticket. They just need something little...even a sticker. In the short space between their house and ours, we counted seven houses without decorations. Busted! When we came over in our pday clothes, everybody`s eyes bulged and they said we looked weird. Fernanda, especially, kept bugging me and saying I was really skinny and almost anorexic. We helped prepare the food. Fernanda said she had to teach me how to wash the chives right (she did exactly the same thing), but when we started peeling the hard-boiled eggs, I was going 3x faster than anyone else. We helped prepare emenadas filled with beef, olives, cheese, and egg. mmmm. We relaxed for a while, and I told them I wanted to return after the mission. They said they`d let me stay there. Sweet. We went to Cristina and Pedro-s next, just for a little while. We got to watch "Brother Bear" too. We ate some meat and various salads. For dessert, they served us juice. Barajas looked apprehensive, but didn`t say anything as I drank. It was good, but in addition to juice, it had a mediciney taste. I asked Elder Barajas if it was alright to drink. He never answered me, but had a pained expression. He didn`t say anything , so I took another sip. THEN he told me it had wine in it. I was really mad he hadn`t warned me. But I found out afterward that when I was asking was when he had taken his own sip and didn`t know whether to spit out and offend them, or swallow and sin. We both repented immediately. It irked me because Pedro told us he wanted to baptize Cristina. Unless he talks to the Bishop, he can`t. I don`t think he`s repentant. He`s already a member, just inactive. I felt proud when Cristina and her mom didn`t drink. It was just Pedro. I feel sad for him. But I felt happy when we got to Robin and Bilha`s, and they asked us to bless their daughter with Health. And we know Robin`s going to have the Melquisidec priesthood in a year. They`re going to do baptisms for the dead next month!

Sunday: today was the day after the national Holiday where everyone gets drunk. So the streets were almost completely dead. We walked to church with Robin, and I was grateful for his friendship `cause he`s just so cool. I had an interesting moment of self-reflection. Elder Barajas always has been able to provide for himself, and as a result, he`s able to withstand harder challenges taht come into his life. I can SURVIVE with my life. NOthing`s ever been too hard for me. Not that any of that is credited to me. I`ve never really pushed myself in anything. And spiritually speaking, I haven`t hgone near anything that would give me the resistance I needed to strengthen my muscles and exercise agency. All of this came to me when Elder Barajas asked me, "Why don`t you ever waalk in the mud?" In response, I replied, "The grass is always cleaner." To me, it sounded like some cheesy line my seminary teacher would use, or something an apostle would say in an analogy, so I made contrasts. And really, if we stay away from the filthy mud in our lives, not only will our spiritual shoes stay clean, but we`ll be able to enjoy the beauty of the beautiful green grass of the gospel. If we repel swearing, drugs, friends who are bad influences, and anything bad, nothing will surround us but clean happiness. Alan told me about king Josea who threw out all the idols from the temple, and the word of god was the only thing that`s left. We can literally do that with our lives! Everyone at my work would always make fun or tease me because I had never lived out of Utah, and I was sheltered. I would always feel a little hurt because they implied weakness. It wasn`t! I was sheltered and strengthened in the Gospel, and surrounded by people of the same religion. My mockers were LDSA too, so I don`t know why they were complaining about their "clean" surroundings. I`m thankful I could have been raised in the gospel. Pedro talked to the Bishop, and after church we did a few visits. Nothing too big. Then we ended the night with our weekly sopaipillas with Robin and Bilha.
Monday: We had lunch, before coming home and cleaning. The president an his wife are coming on thursday, to inspect the house,because we`re going to try and move into a new one. We met with the millahual`s, and Fernanda assured me that there have been many missionaries who though they would never be noticed, and are married now. It just made sense! My time hasn`t come yet! There`s a TIME I`ll meet a girl and date her. It`s always supposed to be after the mission. There was never supposed to be anything before the mission! I didn`t mess up. It`s that I wasn`t wanted. My "appointment" hasn`t come yet! It finally clicked after all these years! Heavenly Father gave me an answer of peace and knowledge.

Tuesday: We got up this morning and discovered we were completely out of gas and had to go without showers. Well, everyone else did. I took an ice shower which I regretted immensely. Especially when I was towelling off, and shivering the whole time. I don`t remember getting warm before we left for our Distrizona meeting. I got to give the lesson to our district on how to develop faith to find people. But I got distracted and gave tips on how to od better contacts. Something that I`ve seen Elder Barajas do, is just say, "how are you," make small talk, and say, "You should come to church." They will never come! And not just because there`s a different church every 40 feet, and that is no lie. I told everyone to teach when they contact. The most powerful thing we have, besides pure doctrine, is our testimonies. People want to knowhow our message has changed our lives. We didn`t have lunch planned for us today, so we went shopping! Yay! We got fixin`s for some delicious hamburgers and headed home. I also got shooting star cereal. After some initial trouble with lighting the stove, we made lunch, and enjoyed it heartily. We met up with the Zone leaders, and got our agendas that we should have had last week. We had fun being able to plan again. We also discovered an extra $10,000 ($20) in our accounts at an ATM. So that was swell. We did contacts for a while, and visited Pedro and Christina. They`re living togethe. He`s a member, and doesn`t want to get married. She wants to be married and baptized. We`re, therefore, rooting for her. But tonight turned out to be a social visit, andnothing more. But we were told that they`re going to get married "soon." Just like Joel. "soon" is the same thing as "someday" which doesn`t exist. People like that aren`t going to commit to anything. We visited Robin and Bilha afterward. Things are going really well for them. I love how happy they always are. I`ve definitely felt calm today. My heartfeels more at peace that it has in a long time. No more wishing for things to be different. Everything`s as it shouldbe. It always has been! I wish (<--- haha) I could have seen it sooner. But that hsould have happened too. It`s so interesting to imagine that. And that evrything is for our good. wow. (We bought soap that, instead of saying, "for hands", said, "for touchers." I laughed so hard.)

Wednesday: So I had TWO horrible dreams last night. The first one was basedoff an actual experience I had before I turned in my mission papers. I have feared my mission my whole life. I really have! It`s been kind of like death to my adolescent mind: the end of relationships, the end of friends, and the en of my family. It was always just...looming ahead of me. i woke up one day, and though I was on my mission and just felt utterly terrified and lost. But then I realized I was in my bed, and started to cry, I was that scared of my mission. Today (lastnight) I had a dream where I realized that there has been a sort of progression in my mission. Hoe to MTC, MTC to field, and in my dream there was some other step that I can`t remember. I think I went to Russia, and we didn`t have companions. So I got the same horror in my stomach andwas too scaredto more in my dream.Then I woke up feeling like I was going on my mission soon. Like all thishad been for nothing. Then I had another dream where Ilost SOME of my teeth. That one has been recurring. I hate that! It`s one of my worst fears. We did contacts for a while before visiting Teresa. We finally met her husband, Jorge. He`s cool, but not very religious. We`ll see. We came back, for lunch, It was take-out from Hna. Espinoza, so we got to eat atthe house. I wrote letters t some of my friends. Elder Barajaswrote a letter to a girl that used to work with him. How did we have so much time, you ask. well, he has "churrete" which translates to "squirts". haha. We had to stay near a toilet until he felt better. We did more contacts before visiting the Acuñas. We visited for a while, and played UNO. After that, we went to the Millahuals. We entered into a sober atmosphere. Minina, the cat who has stolen my heart, got hit by a car. But she didn`t die. Oh no. Her right lip was torn up and her eye was dangling out, soaking her face in blood. Papà Joel cleaned her upa nd put her in a box to take to the Vet. tomorrow. When Camila saw minina, she didn`t want to bring her in. But afterward, she felt like it was her fault. I never wanted to be off my mission so much as tonight. I just wanted to give them all hugs. Camila`s just like my little Cassie(sister). I just wanted to be her big brother and hold her while she cried.

Thursday: We woke up this morning, and I told Elder Barajas to talk to me, to keep me awake. He announced that today was the exact one-year mark of his mission. We were listening to his ipod to a song saying, "the end is just a beginning" or something. He said time was going too fast, and that he didn`t want to go. Life is always busy, differet, and fun. Maybe my wife and I can come here for a vacation. I got a picture of the ocean that Elder Barajas took. It`s gorgeous. We gopt up and I did my pushies and my sitties and my stretchies before joining Elder barajas in our study room. He was writing letters to some of his friends. At least he did after a while. So i busted out my notebook and wrote a letter to Alan. I miss that kid so much. I`m forgetting a lot of our inside jokes. Good thing most of them came fromSpongebob, and we can watch that afterwards. I toldhim of things that have been going on. I told him how thankful I was for his friendship. We never spoke about our friendship out loud. We never had to. He was the only one I didn`t need to say anything to about how I felt. He had alwasy known how I felt, and, in hard times, what I needed. We could sit in silence forever, and not feel awkward. He`s my bestest best friend. So we wrote our letters, and left to send them off. Elder Barajas found he DVD`s of pictures and we had to print some of those of too. The printing took an hour longer than we thought, and we barely made it to lunch on time. Actually, we were 20 minutes. late. :P So we had to eat quickly. We came home, and Elder Barajas showered while I took a nap. We headed into the rain with our laundry, and hustled through the mud to deliver it. We headed to pedro and cristina`s to visit. There was a party tonight for stake conference, but we couldn`t go without an investigator, and all of ours were ascared of the rain. So we had mate and sopaipillas with pedro and cristina. Then we found out our meeting got concelled, and headed to the millahuals. Minina`s going to have her eye removed tomorrow. We met with the branch pres. of Lautauro and went to the hospital to give a brother a blessing, who had broken his wrist.

Friday: Today, as a whole, came as a complete shock to our tired minds at 11:00 because everyone had forgotten to set the alarms. So we hustled to get our clothes on before heading into the continuing rain. Th first thing we did, was get a ticket for Elder Barajas to go to Los Angeles(chile version) on monday for training. I`ll stay here with the comp. opf anothe rdistrict leader who has had less time than me! I will meet up with him at 6:15 in the morning, and then we`ll party `til we`re purple on our pday. Maybe not. When we got back from the terminal, we did some contacts, and checked up with some old investigators to see if we can help them. We had lunch with Hna. Sara before heading over to the millahuals to help osvaldo with his english homework. But we were dismayed to find mamà Maite worried again. She was concerned that every time their friends needed help, she and her husband were always there to help. But when Maite needs help or comfort, nobody comes to help. At first, she was just telling us what was on her mind, but then she REALLY let loose. She went from sad to angry in 3.2...as it were. The funny/sad part is that she`s one of those people who finds one thing they`re passionate about, and say the same thing 7 different ways. She ranted about how everybody else was wrong, and needed to change. She even named a few people...like the bishop. Elder barajas and I just felt the spirit leave, and felt miserable. He doesn`t know how to helop depressed people, and I couldn`t speak. It`s not that I don`t know how, but she just sopoke so fast. the Chileans don`t have social niceties such as "not interrupting while others are talking." You have to say it in one go, or you lose your turn. So I got frustrated (angry) and stewed while she started with her family. Eventually, she and her husband left to do errands. We made brownies for her and I wrote a letter of comfort to her using the revelation I had Monday (everything is as it should be). Something I realized I missed more than technology is reading just for fun. The adventures I`ve had in books have been amazing. I miss it. Ialso realized 2 years is longer than any missionary (or any of his friends and loved ones) realizes. I`ll be here for a while. I can`t imagine the things I will yet encounter.

Saturday: So today was fairly interesting. We woke up, all ready to go play soccer, but found Stake conference had caused us to cancel our own event, which was both inconvenient...and awkward. But as we were walking by this lady`s house, she totally sicked her gimpy, 3-legged (one broken), german shephard on us. But this wasn`t just any gimpy german shephard. It was gimpy because of another missionary the lady had sicked him on. Elder Barajas had told me that story when I first got here. It`s never so much as growled at us, although Elder Barajas assures me it hates missionaries. Today I found out it was actually the owner. So we were walking by, the dog was sleeping, and the lady yelled, "¡Atacalos!" the dog woke up and leapt at my elbow! I jumped back, and did a double-fisted slam into it`s head. It hurt, but Iwasn`t done. I decided to discourage it by giving it a kick in the ribs. I think I broke 2 or 3. But after that, we high-tailed it out of there. we got elder barajas`s refund from the bus, because his trining won`t be for another week. When we got back, we showered. Elder barajas went first, and I asked him if the slug that had previously been on the shower curtain was sill there. he said he didn`t see any. I looked anyway, and found 3! I aked Elder barajas to help me get rid of them. He called me a tool and baby, and told me to do it mytself. It as with love, of course. So Igot some toilet paper and did what a man (like myself) had to do. The rest of our day was spent at Stake conference. We were surprised to find president there. He`s so cool. He taught us, and I could understand his spanish and his lesson. He asked the congregation, which consisted of Priesthood leaders, who was a convert. Almost everyone raised their hand. Then I realized how important missionary work is. wow! Afterward, I saw some sister missionaries talking to Pres. and they hugged him. He hugged them back, as only a father could. I could just see it in the the way he held them gently. Hna. Swnson told me neither of the sisters have fathers, and that Pres. had become theif "father" for them. I wanted a hug really badly, right then. I started cryng because I was being spoiled again. Hna. Swenson tol dme that new missionaries all have something to let go of, and after, they just seem so...function better. What can I lose?(When Alan and I were younger, we were asked to teach in front of the young men and young women as "What missionaries shouldn`t do." We related the restoration to a popsicle. Today i found out that one of the reasons Elder Barajas got baptized, was because of the fun lessons, including popsicles! haha!)

Sunday: We got up, and readied ourselves for our second session of stake conference. We called Teresa and cristina but neither of them answered. We walked to robin and bilha`s house, to help them to church, but they called us when we were close and said they were gone for the day. So we went to the stake center alone. We got there, and said "hi" to President & sister swenson. I looked out across the congregation for 15 min. (elder Barajas had to play piano, and we sat in front) searching for one of our investigators who might have arrived. none did. We listened to the messages given, and I wrote a song about the Atonement. Afterwards, all the missionaries got to talk together, and just talk. Elder Hawker, our zone leader, is super cool. He`s always smiling and praising people. He falls me good, as the Chileans would say. Elder Barajas introduced me to some families around the stake, especially from Lautauro, his "birth" sector. We talked for a long time, and got to lunch a little late. But hna. Billit is rially cool. We had eggs and mashed potatoes. The mashed potatoes tasted like...thanksgiving. We even watched a documentary on history channel during lunch. It was really interesting. Then we went to the millahuals, to check on them as well as minina. She was sleeping in her spot under the stove. They had removed the eye, and all was well. We enjoyed a fewminutes with them, before we headed off to catch the bus for Lautauro. We`re spending our pday with the memberes here, tommorrow. I`m here righty now. We got to spend the firsthour with Pres. Jimenes and his family. They`re soooo cool and nice! He gives great big hug,s even though he`s about 5`7". His wife said my spanish is relaly impressive for only 2 months (can you believe it?!) We got to know each other before we got dropped off at the missionary house. But we visited another family, Elder Barajas`s favorite in the whole mission, the family Pinchaita. They`re two younguns with two baby boys. They`re super nice.

On Mon, Aug 23, 2010 at 8:37 PM, Brigham Merrell wrote:

I love you mommy! I love you! I love you! I love you! things are going great here, and I think about you all the time! I tell my investigators about your stallward example when you had your trials. You have always been an example to me. I sent you a happy birthday card. I guess it never got there. Stupid mail. Where the heck is woodland hills? Thanks for sending me Alan`s address. I`m glad you all had fun with lindsay. She sent me some fun pictures. It looks like Dev`s getting all long and lanky! I didn`t recognize him in one of his pictures!

Moday: Whenever I start these entries, I pause and consider not only what happened that day, but also how I felt. And then I record both. Today was very emotional and not much happened. So this entry will pretty much be full of feelings. We woke up and went to do internet. Cassie had written me two emails. One as a response to the email, and the other was a response to my letter I sent two weeks ago. She asked me if I had liked her right before my mission. I told her the truth: That I wanted to know that very same thing. I`ve mused about my feelings about her before, but I`m still not sure. I think that`s my answer. If I had feelings, I`ve fairly sure I would be pretty definite. But I just don`t know. I turned the tables, and asked her why she had wanted to cuddle and fall asleep on me on purpose. I hope I don`t scare her away. I`m trying to figure myself out too. But I`m afraid. If I like her, I`ll have a horrible mission, being away from her, instead of being here and liking it. If I don`t like her...what do I lose? I feel like I`d lose something if I didn`t like her. Or love her. But these are the consequences of not bieng in the same country of those you care about. The emotional part of my day started at the millahual`s. I thought of a time when I was sad, and Kayla drove over and we sat in my car and talked and I felt scared to lose her(Actually, I was sad because of her, just so you know). But I did. I wasn`t what she wanted. I wanted to have someone to rescue me, and accept me, and love me for once. Cassie might have felt that way at one point, but her standards prevented her from acting on it. She was stronger than me. So tonight, I felt like I I have yet to have someone be there for me, in a loving way. My mission has always been in my future, an ever-present ender of things. I`m feeling so unprepared, emotionally, for trials in my love life. I just want to find someone for me. That`s all I`ve ever wanted to have. And it`s the only thing I`ve never gotten. Maybe that`s what I need to learn on my mission. Grattitude, and living in the moment. Because when I pause to consider what`s happening, it`s great! I also looked at my picture of mommy and Daddy for almost 5 min. I miss their hugs. I miss them telling me everything`s going to be alright. I miss being able to help Daddy. I miss crying with him and mommy. I miss Mommy´s laugh. I miss sitting with Daddy in Priesthood. I miss being their little briggy boy. I miss him tucking me in. I miss running to Daddy when I was scared. I miss going for drives with Mommy. Just for fun But I`ll go on as normal. I just need to cry a little.

Tuesday: We woke up this morning and did a massive cleaning of our house. Actually just our stuff. We were tired of cleaning up the other two`s mess. But our study room was put in order quickly enough. We then read from Preach my gospel until lunch. We had a lot to catch up on. But we had a fun time with it. Elder Herrera forgot his orange cream oreos (weird, I know) here, and I had some milk that needed to be drunk pretty soon. I`ll leave it up to your imagination to figure out what we did. :) Also, I thought it would be fun to randomly start laughing while Elder Barajas was reading, so HE would start laughing. It worked with tremendous success, because (1) he has a quiet laugh (2) he had a stuffed nose. We both agreed he sounded like a very happy dog. We had lunch with Hna. veronica. Soup, as always. We secured our clean clothes and crossed our little bridge, and hopped across the stones in our little marshland to our home. We took time to put our clothes away and keep our room clean. I got ready to take a shower, and came downstairs to do just that. But as I got off the staircase, in just my towel, I realized that Elder Rodriguez had returned from the terminal with his new companion, Elder Garcia, from El Salvador. I acted like I wasn`t embarrassed (`cause I wasn`t), and carried on with bisiness. We planned our day on a notecard, becuase we won`t get next transfer`s agenda `til tomorrow, and then headed out to do contacts. After the miserable time in thte windy, freezing rain, we visited Hna. Ema. She makes really good food when we come over. We finished up with a visit to Robin and Bilha. He`s been working ages to try and find a wifi hacker for his laptop. He found one last week. He`s relaly tech savvy. But he got a new charger today, and it totally burned his new laptop! It was about 2 weeks old! But he just broke out his trusty soddering gun and motherboard, and went to work. I`m feeling a lot better than I did last night. A lot less homesick. I`m trying to refocus and work hard. I know there will be times in the future when my strength wavers, but I`ve got friends to help me out. And I know the lord is walking with me. The place where I am, is on the other side of the world than the United States. 2 years of isolation here, and then returning will be weird. Lots will change. Technology, people. Lots. Devin will probably be my height, and skinny. Maybe we can play together. Yes. That sounds like a plan.

Wednesday: We started out the day with our Distrizona meeting. I`m officially not the newest! Elder Deleon, the brother of the visiting missionary from Friday is in our zone, along with another newbie. They just had a blank stare through the meeting. I know that look very well. I just wanted to help and teach them. I can`t wait to be a trainer. Elder Barajas` district consists of Querihue, which is pretty much the two other Elders we live with. After that, we went to go grocery shopping. I got some Axe and Brut shaving cream. Brut was my very first "daddy smells" and every time I smell it, I think of the Christmas when I got it. I love remembering that. I remember going downstairs in our P.G. house, and seeing it all lit up, with Mom and Dad smiling the whole time we opened presents. Thinking of Christmases, I remember, now, my worst one, when I woke up and mom was in the hospital. Daddy said we should open our presents, `cause he wasn`t sure if mommy was going to come home. That year we didn`t have many presents, and I started crying, because I was embarrassed that I wanted more. Not because I was lacking, but because I realized I THOUGHT I was lacking. That was when I decided to start being grateful and selfless in my life. Or, at least, moreso. After doing contacts for a while, we visited Renato. as a student of Tae kwon doe, and having missionaries through his house for 15 years, he likes deep thinking. We talked deep doctrine for a bit before he showed us something cool. He took out a tool that measures voltage. He stuck it on our skin. His and Elder Barajas` were 220 and 200 (in some measurement). Mine was 40. He said that the higher the number, the happier the person. 150 is normal. I don`t know what I had been thinking. But after, we tried controlling our thoughts. This time 25 was normal. I got up to 60. Elder Barajas got 51. Renato didn`t try. My happy thought was writing Cassie, and Daddy telling me he was proud of me. Thn we tried sad. Elder Barajas got 11, and I got 7. I thought of never being good enough for anyone. I know it`s silly to keep having these thoughts, but it is honestly how I feel. We finished up by visiting Robin and Bilha, then the Millahuals. Hna. Maite got an answer of what to do with Osvaldo, who is bipolar they found out, and felt peaceful. While Elder Barajas was with the others, I spent some time in the scriptures, helping her understand why God gives us trials. (2 Nephi 2)

Thursday: I got up this morning, noting, briefly, that it was uncomfortably cold. So I waited in my bed for the shower to be available. As it turned off, I dropped myself out of bed, reluctant to leave what little warmth I had accumulated, when out of the blue, Elder Garcia, this fat hulking giant, suddenly opened his eyes, leapt from his top bunk, and flew into the bathroom before I could say, "Great Odin`s raven, what`s up with all the Hulaballoo?!" Elder Barajas had just finished, and was ascending the stairs to our room in his towel. He usually has the heater going, so, in my newly-awoken, shivering self, I trailede behind him, desperate for warmth. But we found out that Elder Rodriguez had stolen it during Elder Barajas` shower. I chilled in Rodriguez`s room, and read a book called, "How to be an extra-ordinary missionary" by John Bytheway. I found myself feeling quite happy with the work I`ve been doing. Our ceiling has boards supporting the upstairs that make a great plaid pattern. When we stand on the bottom of the stairs, I can grab the 2nd story floor. So I started hanging and swung my feet forward and wedged myself in between the ceiling boards. I said, "I`m roofed in between the wedge, and it hurts!" (Because the grip was sharp wood) And then dropped down. Elder Barajas started laughing at the mix-up and the hilarity. He even blew a not bubble, and then we both laughed forever. Then we had cookies and milk. We went contacting, and Elder Barajas said I was in charge. I said a prayer, and tried to pay attention to the promptings of the Spirit. I thought I had it a couple times, but we were rejedcted. I felt sad. Really sad. Like my chest hurt. We turned right, and the pain stopped. I turned back, to face the house I had been facing, and the same heated pressure returned. I got excited when I approached the door, `cause I heard a TV. Someone was home! I knocked softly with no answer. I was afraid. What if I couldn`t understand them? What if they rejected me too? We went to the next house, but I kept thinkin of the house. I told Elder Barajs we should go back. As we approached, I felt like I did after bearing my testimony when I was little, overcome with emotion and about to cry (don`t question it, it`s just who I am!). It was weird. I was trying to hold it in, and told Elder Barajas about my fear. He read D&C 84:88 "I am with thee always, on your left and on your right." and Moroni 8:16"I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear." All of my pressure of fear and crying was moved, it seemed, to my skin as a radiating heat. I bore powerful testimony and he said he didn`t have time, but that we could come back later. I found one other lady in a similar manner. I`m doing it! (I told Elder Barajas what I told Cassie in the MTC: That I feel like another face in a suit. Same here, with thte members. He told me I`m not just a face in a suit to the people I promised to save in the preexistence.

Friday: Today wasn`t nearly so spiritual as it was emotional, and that was only within the last half-hour.I watched "charly" on Elder Barajas`s ipod. It was a love story where a girl found the gospel and it changed her life. They loved each other so much and married in the teample, and sealed for eternity. It had never hit me, the joy of this message. I cried so much when the husband found out she had cancer. He prayed to Heavenly FAther. I got chills when he said the same words that I uttered when mommy had cancer, "I`m scared." Words cannot describe how I felt when I said that. Saying, "I`m scared" aloud is something that makes it seem more fi9rm in your mind. Like the thing you`re afraid of becomes more of a reality. I think that was the day I first got my testimony. Because by the end of my prayer, I felt better. Calm er. I`m not afraid of dying. I`ve alwasy been afraid of losing my loved ones. I remember when I was about 5, my mom told me that she was going to die. She meant it in the sense of "eventually", but I was terrified. I wanted to spend every minute with her. I was scared to be alone. I`m alone now, as I write this. I want a hug. I want love. I want someone to love. I want someone to hold onto forever. I want to get married in the temple. I want to live worthily. I want to help others. I want to be the "someone" people come to for safety and comfort. I want to feel safe always. I want to preach the Gospel to the world, and tell them they don`t have to be alone! They can know that they have a Heavenly Father who loves them just like he loves me! I love my Savior so much for the blessings in my life, and for the people that love me. Every tear that falls right now is a spiritual gift from them, and the influence they`ve had on me. I`m grateful for my mission, for the privelage I have to leave my family for a little while, so other families can be together forever. It may be difficult at times (like when I thought of Cassie this afternoon), but tonight was a reminder of why I`m here, and I`m so thankful for it.
Saturday: We got up today to a foggy day, full of cold. But we dutifully headed out in our soccer clothes to pick up our investigators for our weekly game. Actually, we had 6 new people come today. One of them, specifically, caught my attention. He`s name is Jordan (He has an older brother named Michael) who is 16 years old. When he runs with the ball, it just looks so graceful. And his kicks pack a whallop. When I was goalie, I blocked a shot with my SHOE and it hurt. After that, I didn`t want to be goalie. And when I was playing offense and he was guarding me, he would say things like "boo" or "Ah!" thinking he was intimidating. He`s a great guy,m and I love him, but when he kept rubbing in how much better he was than me, I felt like I was back in High School and had to prove myself to others. I was still bad at soccer, and couldn`t really do anything. I got frustrated with myself, and felt sad when he kept laughing at me. I had prideful thoughts, that I wasn`t good enough. Or that if we were in a pool, I`d show HIM. I just couldn`t help but compare myself to him. It was bad because I`m competetive, and he`s good. I felt so disappointed afterward that I had let myselft down. I thought I had become comfortable with who I am, but I`ve just been able to hold "it" in and be more patient. Which is good, but I need to be able to not compare myself to others. I am who God wants me to be, and worrying doesn`t do any good to anyone. After soccer, I had my heart`s desire of bread and avocado for lunchy. We also made rice, soaked in chicken broth. I had a lot more sandwiches than delicious rice. After lunch, we got a bunch of potatoes ready, and carried them over to a family in the other ward. I cleaned and peeled them for an hour before we started frying them. Elder Barajas and I had another appointment, so we got to eat first, before we left. We met up with Juan, a ward missionary, and went to FHE with Hna. Ema`s and her hubby were joined with some non-members who were a little antagonistic. So it was a little less productive than usual. Then we visited Guido`s family. He wasn`t there, but his sisters were. One`s 19 and pregnant (Every girl about my age has already had at least one baby. weird), and the other had her 18th birthday today. We finished the night, teaching Juan english.

Sunday: We woke up today with enough time to get everything done. We readied ourselves, and called Teresa. She told us she would have to stay home again. Out of all the rotten sundays, the one good one was the one that her mom decided to go visit someone. Lame. She said she had to stay home with her kids as a result. We went to María Soledad`s (A new investigator that seems a bit slow) house to pick her up. Her cell phone was turned off, and her gate was locked. So she didn`t come to church. we went to church, and were having a grand old time until they came up to us in the middle of a talk, and asked us to do a special musical number. The choral leader practiced with us outside for one verse, before we went back in, and sang hymn #1 in front of everyone...a capella. It was fine exept where the hymn tries to join two words with one syllable. It`s dumb. And then Elder Barajas started laughin the last verse, and my butterflies in my stomach made me start laughing. We`re going to make a list of 100 things we learned on the mission. #1 is "improvised musical numbers never work out well." As we were heading, red-faced, back to our seats. Guess whose face we saw smiling out of the congregation? Teresa! She had come, after all! And she had brought her husband, who happened to be home from work today. But she left after sacrament meeting. At least she got to make a few friends. We had lunch with Robing and Bilha. We had mashed potatoes with horse. There was also steamed carrots and onions too. After that, we were deprived of any energy we might have had, by the power and effects of a food coma. So we had ourselfes a tuto (nap). We were revived, and went to the Millahual`s. Osvaldo has had a 40-degree C fever since Friday, and has been very sick because of it. I got to help Octavio with his iPhone, and even read some things afterward. I read the first two pages of a book by Jim Butcher, the same author as the Dresden Files, and felt that I`m not going to write my book. The quality is totally horrible in comparison. More like a joke. I`ll just be happy with "Dragon Knight". I also read some talks by Elder Holland. Then we ate sopaipillas with Robin and Bilha, and watched 30 minutes of "avatar" while doing so. Then we came home and planned this next week`s goals, after reporting our #`s to the zone leaders.
P.S. Elder Barajas found out at 1:30 in the morning that we were both still awake. So we talked and even did literate exercises. We wrote about love. We wrote about heartache. We talked with each other about those that we love and have loved. We went to bed at 5:00 this morning. I wonder why I was so excited, that I couldn`t sleep?

I love you all so much. Please know that I love you, and think about you all the time! Just think: I get to call you in 4 months! that`s only a third of a year! It`s flying for me. I`ve almost been in the field as long as I`ve been in the MTC. woot!