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

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.