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

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Tuesday: Elder Orellana took a lot of time in the shower today, so I had to choose between showering and shaving. Needless to say, I went to the Distrizona with a little "barbita." I hadn`t had time to lop off the stubble I had accumulated during the day when I was in Temuco. After just one day, everyone noticed it. It was totally lame and not my fault. We`re winning in a competition between all the zones in the mission with the most people attending church as well as having the most baptisimal dates. Too bad none of those people are in Tirùa. When we checked our email, I got really scared. Daddy told me I had overdrafted and he couldn`t access my bank account because he needed information from my "studen Visa Credit Card." I had no idea what that was, so I couldn`t give him that info. I waas going to have bad credit rotting for 2 years. All I told Daddy, after saying a quiet prayer, was that I had a lot of papers from the day I set up my bank account. Not a lot, believe me, I knew. That was all he needed. He eventually found everything he needed and said he`d take care of it and told me not to worry. What a relieve. I was so so scared. Alan and I reminisced a few times and I`m sure he laughed as much as I did. We came back to find our friend, Luis, had been hospitalized from the ocean. He got stuck out there, got tired, almost drowned, but managed to survive with ONLY a severe case of hypothermia. After 4 hours, he was still shivering.

Wednesday: Elder Orellana woke up sick this morning. Lately, he feels really sick after every meal that he eats. Kind of reminds me of Elder Mcconnell`s and my last weeks together in the MTC. I think I`m like the plague reincarnate, getting all of my comps. sick. I have been thinking about home a lot lately, as you can probably tell. But it`s a hallow thing. I just think about it without any intentions, but even that is a distraction from the mission. Where do I get all the free time, you ask? The people ignore us a lot. Hna. Olivares gave me a long talk after lunch, eplaining how to play hard to get. We got on THAT lovely topic thanks to Elder Orellana blabbing about my lack of girlfriend experience. But I still love him. I can already see some "vague" ways how my life will have been blessed by the mission--free dating advice. We did some ironing and had to come to cañete. I thought about excercising for some reason. Weird, right? But my mind almost immediately latched onto swimming. I`ll do it every morning after the mission. I miss it soooo much. When we arrived at the Zone Leaders` house, we had another good chat. Elder heiser wanted to talk to me about kissing. See what I mean? Blessings. He`s such a stud. We had a study party for the Scripture master at the conference tomorrow. I won! We`ll see how it goes tomorrow for rizzle.

Thursday: today we had a really cool training zone conferenc. It was rally really inspirational. Today, President told us that Elder Bednar had come a few years ago and said, "Right now, the missionaries are teaching Preach My Gospel. Their goal should be to BECOME Preach My Gospel." So that`s going to be the mission`s goal for this year. The year of the baptisms. I made some pretty good contributions to the training discussions and President told me, "well, said." in front of everyone. Hna. Swenson leaned over, and was shaking her head as she said, "your spanish is just so GOOD. How did you learn it so fast?" I was just glowing. President gave us some really good advice on how to make good habits in the mission. I realize that if I hadn`t learned to study or pray with my companion on the mission, I might not have entered into the routine of doing it with my wife and kids later in life. In my personal study, reading King Benjamin`s speech, he said things like, "believe in Christ!" or "Rejoice in Christ!" and things like that. Those are things we take for granted. It`s like when Moses told people to look at the snake on his staff. It`s not as physical, but very bit as vital to our exhaltation--not salvation. We`ll all be saved. The bus driver on the way home totally had a jafar beard! Oh! I got a letter from Estèe, Jess, Tosha, and The Childs from the home ward. Thank you everyone!

Friday: When we got up, Elder Orellana felt really sick to his stomach. I studied a lot and then decided to write responses to some of the other letters I had received. Jess and Tosha had it finally click that I was a missionary, and not just an Elder, preaching the Gospel. I got to testify of all the wonderful blessings that the Lord has seen fit to give me. One of the biggest and amazing things that I`ve found on the mission is forgiveness. Not the ability to figive others, but being forgiven of my personal mistakes, and still being loved. At the beginning of my mission, I was worried about who I was and finding it out so I could be accepted by someone. I was worried about not being good enough for Heavenly Father. But every time I kneel and tell him I love him and do my best to SHOW him my love, he shares his with me. And when I feel that touch of his presence, I don`t need anything else. I feel...complete in a way that goes beyond where our words can describe. I`m so happy!

Saturday: I woke up today to another earthquake and, surprisingly, a woodpecker outside. I shooed it away and found that my towel had fallen off of the clothesline below, and lay in the mud that the overnight rain had created. Lamesauce. We went over to the Olivares to do service. It felt like it did, back at the home ward, having people explain what they wanted, and having your mind frantically scrambling to plan how you`d do each thing as it`s explained. One of my goals when I get home is to do at least one service project for one of the older members of my home ward. Today we cleared out all of the weeds in front of their house, and built three mini barricades for each little garden. I got to measure and saw the sticks and logs while Bro. olivares and Elder Orellana dug holes. I am pretty sure I got the most physical labor done. Let`s hear it for muscle benefits! We had delicious spagghetti with chunks of horse for lunch. Soooo good. I will totally check out the chilean restaurant in Provo after the mission (It`s on Canyon road, for those of you who are interested--to the side of Day`s market.) I helped Lehi get a gameboy DS emulator on his computer with Platinum pokemon version. Hey! I can help out in all kinds of ways...even the nerdy one. In the evening, everyone wanted to make tacos. I WAS excited until I realized this country lacks two things: this country lacks taco (bell) hot sauce, and properly ground beef. We had tuna tacos. Weird, but not bad. Just like the kind of day that today was! :)

Sunday: This Sunday was better than last week, in the sense that I only had to worry about my class--without any surprise talks. I got to teach about exhaltation. I got to teach about one of the things that has really interested me in my personal study, and was able to contribute the findings and revelation that I`ve been blessed with. Speaking of blessings, I was blessed, during class, with an opportunity to test the limits of my patience--in the form of a 14 year-old boy that belonged to a family that was visiting. He kept trying to prove something by making frequent, rude comments, laughing when I made a pause to correct my Spanish. He complained during lunch (the family was visiting the Olivares) too. Older Orellana felt too sick to go out, so we went to the house/chapel. But invited some people to come make french fries later. Guess who showed up? Then I felt "sick" and went to lie down. Ronald came up and started going through all my stuff, asking what it was. He found my excedrin and asked how many to take for a headache,. I said 1. He said, "Okay, I`ll take 5." I mean COME ON!!! Then he poured them out. I jumped up and took 4 back. Then he tried to take TUMS. He messed up all my notebooks and agendas and put two staples in my envelope that held my letter to Devin. My desk was a disaster. But I smiled through the whole thing. I wasn`t mad. I understood.(I also became a home teacher today. Oh joy.)

Monday: Today was a good pday. We slept in until about 12, surprisingly. I got all showered, shaved, and clean. While I was in the shower, I spied a fly sitting on Orellana`s bar of soap. I laughed, noting the irony. We went over to the Olivares for lunch. She was making empanadas, which are like barrowhots, but just with cheese and ham/tomatoes. She was selling them, and we decided to help out. We watched "God`s army 2: States of Grace," a really intense church movie. Not by the church, but about it. It was actually really sad, because of how accurate it was. It was definitely a thrill. Oh! This morning, Mamà Millahual called with some disturbin news. I didn`t understand her at first. I thought she said I couldn`t come over ever again. I thought it might have to do with me calling Fernanda yesterday. I had reread what she had written in my journal and thanked her. But I found out Mamà had called because my previous comp. is forbidden there now. I knew he had a crush on Fernanda, and had talked to him. He said he`d change. Mamà said his flirting got violent this week! He tried to trip her, and had ended up kicking her, too. Mamà laughed when I told her i`d thought I was banished. She said she loves her "bebè", then she passed the phone to Fernanda. She said she was grateful for my friendship and for making her feel safe when I was there. Kind of scary that she would need that kind of thing. Tonight, we had a fireside on the beach. Sweet! I gave a talk about Patriarchal Blessings.


Monday: Today was a good day. It´s been a while since I´ve started an entry like that. We woke up and went around visiting families, looking for, and using, Elder Orellana´s cable for his camera. He was going to grab some of his mission photos he had stored on Luis´s computer (for some reason). But when we finally got to Luis´s house, his hard drive was inaccessible. So Orellana´s pictures were pretty much destroyed. After that, we finally went to cañete to write the family. Mama and Daddy went to their wolf creek time share for New Year´s. Afte rthey left, the batter in the house thermostat died and the kids had to be in the cold for a few days (They didn´t know it was the battery). They got to experience a piece of a Chilean winter that I got to go through! Daddy dressed up as Santa for another family. A girl asked for a fuzzy stuffed animal. She pulled a box out of his bag, and sure enough, she got one! Daddy said I´ve matured since I´ve left. My heart soared when I heard that. I don´t know why, but I seek his approval sooo much. Was I that way with my Heavenly FAther? What was I like before this life?

Tuesday: Okay, so remember the guy from my last week in Temuco, who said he´d get baptized if we found a scripture in the Bible that spoke of baptism in the name of the Father and of the son and of the HOly Ghost? Matthew 28:19, Baby! In the Distrizona today, we were asked why we baptize/want to baptize. I thought about it, and decided that I really want to just help people return to their Heavenly Father--their family. That´+s what everything boils down to, in our eternal existence: being with and progressing with those whom we love, and being happy while doing it. After reading "The trilogy of Scousen", about things before and after this life, I realized I was very very small. I was scared of fading away. But then I realized how foolish that was when I remembered how I preach every day to people that God loves them. Our God is so...grand, and he cares for each of us. Baptizing is the first simple step to show our love and devotion for him. I want to be a part of that process, for a reason that´s too deep for me to be able to put into words. When we went by Sis. Olivares, she asked me about my lovelife history. I told her. She gave me a look and said, "Look at me with your 3-colored eyes." I laughed at that, and she gave me encouraging advice.

Wednesday: So 8 months have already gone by, huh? Wow. Time flies when...you...heck. I think time´s normal. It´s passed quickly, but it´s not really a surprise. And it´s gone slowly as well, but I wish I had more time. I love being on a mission, and the adventures I have for myself and the blessings I can give to others. Sometimes I miss myu family and home, but not terribly so. My senior mission will be awesome with my wife! During lunch, Sister Olivares told us she was worried. We sat up straighter in our chairs and asked what was wrong. She said the Branch President of Cañete, the city two hours away and the branch that ours is a part of, told/asked her to move to cañete with her family. Before he even asked, he said, "Remember this is what the lORD WANTS." And after she and her husband said they´d think about it, he started persuading them and giving them reasons. Hno. Olivares was exco0mmunicated two years ago and re-baptized the past suymmer. Two weeks ago, same time as this interview, the Branch Pres. accused him of doing what he had done two years ago, again. The Pres. asked us to start bugging them about moving. My comp. said no, and I thought it sounded fishy. The Olivares not only provide for the missionaries, but are the members that all the new ones look up to. Apart from them, every member in the village is under 3 years. It just doesn´t feel right...

Thursday: I got to sho Hna. Olivares photos of my family today. It was really fun to look at my Christmas photos again. We went out and nobody wanted to talk with us...again. As we were visiting with NIkko again, I saw something, I can´t remember what, but it made me miss my mom. I remembered that nothing can give love like a mother. Like being held by her. I think the thing I saw was a Sister holding her little boy. I wanted that embrace. I longed for it and ached for it. I felt wounded. I felt weak. I missed my streets and my clean home. I realized today how many things I can´t show of myself to people to maintain a professional atmosphere. It made me feel alone. Sure, I can be a friend, but I can´t spend hours listening and chatting. I can´t hang out on a whim. If sojme pretty girl startedcrying and looks to you for help (like what happened today), you can´t do squat. You aren´t a person, you´re a missionary. When people look at me like that, they look at my plaque, not my face. I felt...excluded. I missed my friends and hugging, and being...in my comfort zone. I despise myself for feeling this way. I´m not gonna quit, but it is hard being a missionary. I´ll stick it out until I change more. Whenever I read my scriptures when I feel bad, I can feel an instant change and happiness. I can use them as a tool in emergencies.

Friday: Today was kind of a bummer day. We had to stay at the house and wait for some people to come by, who had asked to borrow the chapel chairs. They came two hours late. But, luckily, Sis. Olivares had to drop off lunch, ´cause she´s going to cañete (temporarily). I got sick this afternoon and had to go home, ´cause I couldn´t even stand up straight. My stomach just HURT. So we came home and I laid down. After a while, I killed time by reading the scriptures. I read the book of Jarom. There was a really cool part where the prophets had to reprimand the Nephites. They said, "In asmuch as ye obey the commandments, ye shall prosper in the land." So I took a memnt to think how I´m doing. There may be a few little things I can work on, but if that´s what it takes, then by George, I´m gonna do it! We´ll see how this goes. Wish me luck!

Saturday: Okay, so nothing groundbreaking has happened since I´ve gotten picky with myself. At least not in the past 24 hours. I´ve been picky with myself for quite some time. I got really exited when Hna. Olivares came over and siad she had someone for us to teach. We were like, "really?" and she waws like, "no." Then she laughed...in our faces. We watched a movie after lunch (for dessert, we had bananas and what I thought were grapes. [Sis. Olivares was in a joking (evil) mood and replaced one of my grapes with a black olive) called "The Ultimate Gift." It waws about the change that a yount man went thgrough as he completed tasks that his deceased grandfather left for him. He learned to work, he learned how to learn, he learned how to make a real friend, he learned to dream, he learned the value of money, and he learned how to love. The process, more than the experiences, reminded me of how I´ve changed. We visited some members, and watched "together forever." I watchred a father pick up his little girl, with a smile on his face. I thought of my next hug I´ll give Daddy...at the airport in 16 months. We´ll both cry, and I´ll feel safe. I remember would always pick me up and hold me and I was devastated when he told me I was too big. Haha! But I realized that teaching about families while being away from mine is hard.

Sunday: I just love life. Elder Orellana waited until last night to tell me that I had to give a talk. We happened to run into Jessay, the daughter in the Olivares family, and the YW president from cañpete. So he wrangled all three of us into giving talks. Writing a 15 min. talk in Spanish took a lot out of me. But I gave a really good talk about love. I was a subject that´s very important to me. I then had to prepare my lesson for Sunday School. I taught about the Sacrament. I leanred that the Blessings say that partaking of the emblems is an act of testifying that we´pre willing to do all of the other things we´re promising to do. Tomorrow I need to pick up my carnet from Temuco. It was a four-hour trip, and it was smoking hot. We left at 4 an got to the home abut 9:00 (fine, it was 5 hours. Bite me. :) ). We didn´t have keys (anymore) so we met up with Elder Oversby and his new comp. at Robin and Bilha´s home. It was really good to see them again. Like coming home again. We came home and I wasw even more happy to see Elder LIsonbee! He´s really one of my bestest friends on the mission. He was a little worse for wear after his transfer with Elder Rodriguez. He was really abused and tempted by him. He resisted briliantly but at a cost. He´s disanimated for the mission. We cheered him up, and then he told us his trilogy--the history of relationships he´s had. He had one that ended badly--like me--with a lot of similarities. I just love him. I wish all the best for him.

Monday: I was very sad to leave Elder LIsonbee today. We couldn´t just talk, the two of us, because Elder Oversby insisted on being included. I don´t mnind that, but every time I complimented Lisonbee, or said i´d missed him, Oversby would say, "What about me?" So I wrote about 20 little notes for LIsonbee and hid them in his Scriptures or shoes, or somewhere like an Easter Egg hunt. We went to the Centro to finally get my carnet. I watched anxiously as the clerk looked through the first stack of ready ID´s...then the second...and the third and fourth. He spoke with someone and came back to me. He said it would arrive later this afternoon...but we had to leave at 3 to get back by 9. So I have to come back in 2 more weeks. We went by the MIllahuals. They love me. Elder Hall, someone who also started in that ward and someone who they love, is in Fundo El Carmen, another sector that shares the same ward. But Mamá said she´s had many "sons" but only one "bebé." (baby) Fernanda told Elder Hall and Oversby that the sweetest and most tender missionary she´d met was called, "merrell." Oversby was offeneded and told her that I didn´t know anything about women. When Fernanda heard that, she got really mad and told him off. Hearing that she had defended me from his attack while I was gone made my heart warm. Mamá said that she says "good morning" to the picture I left them every day. It was good to return. 2 more pdays and it´s mamás birthday. I´ll do my carnet then.

Okay, so here´s a brief Spanish guide for the Chilean-specific spanish words. It´s a bit different down here...



Pull on the ear (to scold, reprimand)}
Pointing to the eye (watch out, be careful)
Hand motion with fingers down (come here)
Thumb and finger close together (a little bit)
Finger to neck (to get stood up)
Closed fist (tight with money)
Popcorn popping hand motion (a lot)
Most chileans pucker their lips to point at things
Thieves, people that steal (wave the fingers)


Cachar (cachai) To understand, get something
nada que ver No way
Echar de menos To miss someone, something
caerle bien (mal) To get along with someone
Portarse bien To behave oneself
A lo mejor Possibly, it could be that
Al tiro Right away
No salva a nadie Worthless
Vale la pena It´s worth it
¿Adonde la vio? You´re crazy, whatever
Andar pato To be broke
¿Cómo amaneció? How are you (upon waking up in the morning)
¿Cómo le va? How´s it going?
¿Qué tal? How are you? What´s up?
¿Cuanto calza? What´s your shoe size?
¿Cuánto mide? How tall are you?
Ser pesado To be a mean
¿No es cierto? Right?
a ver Let´s see, let me think
Me cuesta It´s hard for me
Hacer tuto To take a nap
Pelar To talk about someone behind their back
Meter las patas To get into trouble
"a mal tiempo, buena cara." Keep your chin up
"Deja que los perros ladren." Let them say what they want
"En boca cerrada no entran moscas" It´s better to keep your mouth shut
"No hay mal que por bien no venga." Everything happens for our good
Dar la hora A person who does nothing on his job


la pega Job, work
Sin falta without fail
a la pinto excellent, first class
capo smart, cool
buena honda somebody cool, nice
cochino nasty, dirty
chancho hog, sloppy
una cuestión a thing (when you don´t know what it´s called)
porfiado stubborn
mañoso pricky, a brat, awnry
chueco crooked missionary (breaks rules), crooked (wheel)
huaso cowboy, redneck, uneducated
¡Pucha! Shoot! Fetch!
plata money
zapatillas Tennis shoes
carepalo (cara de palo) straight forward
una consulta I have a question
Once dinner
¡Chuta! Shoot! Dang!
patos malos bad kids, dangerous

Sunday, January 9, 2011


I got my package! The zone leaders surprised us and brought the package back from their council that they had on Sunday night. I got a Snuggie! It`s amazing, and will help me with the cold mornings. The whole zone was fighting over the pop tarts...and everything else. I didn't feel guilty when I acted selfish :) Thank you for everything you guys have done for me. wow. I just feel so special right now. This makes Christmas amazing. I even got a postcard from Lindsay. She drew me a Santa with Red eyebrows, saying it was me. But my eyebrows are BLONDE!!! hahahaha. the funny thing is that they didn't have the package that she had sent. weird. Maybe it`ll be at the training conference in three weeks. Anyway, I just wanted to let you guys know how much I appreciate your wonderful generosity. I love you both!

Elder Briggy Boy

Monday, January 3, 2011


Tuesday: We had a class today that was perfect for how I`ve been feeling. How many times has that happened now? We read a talk about "mental toughness." M. Russel Ballard said "Mediocre attitudes create mediocre results, and bad attitudes yield bat results. If [we] want success [we] need to have successful attitudes." I just need to cheer up and God will bless me. With regards to transfers, a Branch President told us that the bad missionary always stays because he still has something left to do. I don`t think the "bad" part applies, but if we try hard at everything we do, we can hardly have anything to regret or leave unfinished. One of the reasons I would never leave the mission, is the doubt that would follow me for my whole life wondering, "What would have happened?" And in the Eternal perspective, there would be numberless people that might be saved from the few words I have to give. We wrote the family, or tried to. I left the journal at the house...two hours away. So when we came home, we went to the Olivares` and I wrote the letters there. They didn`t have interenet, so I saved it, and will send it ASAP. We visited Jaqueline, a 21 year-old member, and sister of our investigator, Nicholas. We talked for a time. I felt awkward, like I was interrupting their friendship. But I can see how getting used to that situation could help me in the future. I went well. (I`ve decided that Elder Orellana looks like a big "Joseph Rojas" from the ward)

Wednesday: We woke up and I got to have fun wrestiling our washing machine. It wasn`t too bad, but we have to rinse our clothes in the tub, with the showerhead. I found out wringing out a shirt (and sheets) is very hard with one hand. We had rice and, surprisingly, smoked meat for lunch. It was delicious. We came back for a while. Hna. Olivares came over and told us her daughter, Belèn, had fallen off her bike and needed a blessing. That is cool, because I had been thinking how it is to be worthy of the Priesthood at any moment. It would be so scary to know you were unworthy and faced with deaath, or a blessing, and have that fear. That fear is what robs someone of the Spirit. It`s not of Heavenly Father. We gave the blessing and she hopped right up. Which is saying something for someone whose knee would move and pop at the slightest touch. We got a call from our Zone Leaders, telling us that the city was on Earthquake alert. That means it`ll be strong. So we got our clothes and water together "in case of emergency." I have a very great deal of fear, not for sinning, but for tsunamis 3 blocks away. Not too fun. And the fact that our cell phone`s out of minutes.

Thursday: Well...I`m alive. Although I didn`t get a lot of sleep last night. I tried to be ready to leap out of bed at the slightest hint of an earthquake. Not very relaxing. So, naturally, every time my companion snored or even farted, I jerked to attention. We got to talk with Hna. Olivares this afternoon. She told us that her Grandmother had told her stories as a child. Ancient Indian legends. One was of an eclipse. The great eclipse that lasted for 3 days! They weren`t members, who had read the book of mormon, either. This was a legend passed through the generations! The other one was about a youth who cut off all the arms of a "beast"--could also be "evil"-- and showed them to the king. Just like Ammon! It really happened down here! The doctors had said Belèn`s knee had been broken yesterday, but today it`s not and she was walking without a limp. One of the Spiritual gifts in my Patriarchal Blessing was "faith in Christ and his healing power." This was probably the first major one I`ve ever given. That`s so crazy! Also during the earthquake in February, the ocean carried the only two supermarkets in Tirùa out to sea. That`s why there aren`t any here anymore! (incoherent grumbling...jk)

Friday: I don`t know why, or how, but I came to a remarkable conclusion today: I can accept people for who they are and not have to expect or wait for things to be different. I can`t expect people to be something they`re not, or hope they`ll do something thy won`t, just because it would make my life easier or happier. With that realization came it`s own happiness and acception and I felt like a part of me had been completed. Later, I was wondering about my friends and how I saw them and who they were to me. I wondered how people saw me. Do they see someone with too much vibrato for his scrawny body? Do they see an irresponsible adult? A capable leader? A passionate, focused individual? I see myself differently that when I left, mere months ago. I see someone who`s comfortable with himself. He wants to help others, but doesn`t put nearly so much store in what they think. I see someone who`s constantly analyzing, but can be an easy conversation companion. And I see a son of God who had come closer to his Heavenly Father and happiness because he gave up and consecrated his heart for him. We celebrated New Year`s Eve with Resendo (Chicho) and his family. They gave us soooo much food! there were so many different kinds of potatoes. If I named them all, I would sound something like "Bubba-gump" potatoes.

Saturday: Today was new years! It is now the year 2011, the year that I`m not going to be in America for. Normally, I feel a rejuvination, but today I was like, "meh." It was our P-day, and we stayed in the house the whole flippin` (<-----Now I`m a real Elder...get it?) day. I would read a few chapters, go downstairs and get Orellana to play Ping Pong for a while, and then go back to reading. It was pretty okay by me. I hadn`t relaxed like that in months. The Olivares left to some Lake to celebrate, so we got cheated out of a meal, but I`m okay with that, too. I got sleepy and took a nap at 4 and woke up at 9. My comp. forgave me though. Sister Olivares was here with her kids, cleaning up the "Chapel." I felt bad and started sweeping and washing dishes. In Alma, I read...well, I read a whole bunch of stuff. but he said God gives men all that he seeth fit. Obviously he has everything. And he wants us to be happy and successful. So if we ever have something in our lives that seems hard or bad, it`s ours. Interesting, huh? Some people have their parents die. It`s sad, but Heavenly Father knows they can handle it better than someone else. Or in intelligence. 1800 years of stones and wood tech. But 200 years after the restoration, we`ve got iPhones? That`s no coincidence, it`s God giving us knowledge.

Sunday: Today was so fun and exciting. Well the latter part was. I woke up and started preparing my lesson for Sunday School that I`m suddenly in charge of. The members came and we got started. Today was fast and testimony meeting, which is really, REALLY hard with two families and a few adults. But we gave it a good run. We only finished 10 minutes early. The sister in charge of Young Women had to leave early, so she took my teaching time and they sprung the Priesthood lesson on me. I hastily rushed to prepare it, but everyone made excuses and the whole freakin` branch left an hour early! We played a Spanish pun game, and I could actually keep up with the family! At about 5:30 we had a 7.3 earthquake. That was the fun and exciting part. It was like an amusement park ride. Everything was shaking off the shelves. That was a bit messy. Other than that, it was great! :) Wepre still having 6-point somethingaftershocks, 5 hours later. The entire country turned off the electricity, and we weren`t sure for how long it would be for. but it came on at 8-ish. I was glad I already had my clothes, flashlight, and water ready to go. And we had to stay in the house, too. So we played ping pong with two balls. It was "¡Pulento!"


Monday:Our first task of the day was actually playing billiards at the mall. It was really fun, and reminded me of the months leading up to the mission when I played with Alan almost every night after work. Except that I wwas the worst out of all of us there today. We had lunch and went to buy my bus ticket for tomorrow. I`m set to go at 9:00. Then we went to write the family. My family bought another dog! A little "bear" pomeranian named Sophie. I wish they had sent photos. But things sound like they`re going really well for everyone. Devin has been growing and is excited for me to hear how deep his voice has gotten. He got his Patriarchal Blessing with some very special promises. Cassie, who promised me she wouldn`t cut her hair `til I get back, has her hair below her shoulders for the first time in forever. The rest of the day was spent saying goodbye. I had to cut some shorter than I would have liked. Robin wasn`t even home. We spent the most time with the Millahual`s. They gave me an orange tie, the same color as my hair. I didn`t feel as sad to go as I thought I`d be. I couldn`t figure out why. We passed by Robin and Bilha one more time. robin gave us a bleary goodbye. They werne`t too sad. Mostly, because I`ll probably get a sector pretty close again before the end of the mission. Bilha cried and said she and her daughter would miss me and never forget me. Then I felt horrible, like I hadn`t done enough. I`m gonna miss the mission! A year and a half seems too short. But I felt happy when I thought of more families I`d meet.

Tuesday: I hurried through the morning throwing last-minute things into my suitcases and utilizing Oversby`s superior weight-class skills to help me close them. We went to the terminal to see me off. Oversby picked me up off the ground, he hugged me so hard. Then I left my first sector. We drove for 3 hours before we got to Los Angeles. I got off during that stop to say hello to an Elder who I had been waiting a long time to see: Kevin Kemp, one of my best friends before the mission. We were going to take pictures, but after we took one with my camera my bus left and I had to leave him. :( But I`ll see him at conference tomorrow. :) My new comp. Jorge Orellana, seems cool. He`s very nice and helpful. So I can`t base my horrible transfer with Argueta on the language or anything. I found out he had to go back to the house and bring a pair of clothes to a sector closer to conference tomorrow--and that he didn`t have money to travel. So I paid for both of us to travel 6 more hours. 1/3 of my current money. We live in the Church, which is a mansion with the Church sign on it. Really roomy for 2 guys. We came 3 hours of the way back, wasting another 1/3 of my money and then we had to bribe a member to take us to our beds for the night that was another hour away. I also found out there aren`t any phones to call the family from, and now I don`t have money to even pay for it. I`ll use the rest tomorrow, just to get to the conference. I don`t know what I`ll do. (There was an Elder calvo who`s completely bald! (Calvo=bald in spanish))

Wednesday: We woke up to an incredibly hilarious situation. I was doing push-ups while waiting my turn in the shower, and my comp. got locked in a room. We couldn`t get him out for 40 min. Eventually, they removed the doorknob and then the door. Then someone got trappe din the bathroom when the lock suddenly jammed. So they took care of that one, too. We got to the bus one minute before they took off. We went the 3 hours to concepciòn, and the conference. During it, we had a really cool scripture study. Alma 36:22 is about Alma wanting and aching to be in the presence of God. But a few verses before that, it says that he was terrified of it. What changed? He found the joy of being loved by God, and being forgiven of sins. When he had faith that this love and joy could be his, he wanted it. But that comes only through our Savior who was born during this season (okay, not REALLY, but you know how it is). I spent almost all of conference with Elder Kemp. It was so good to talk about old times, and even things in the mission. The awesomeness of it almost blew my mind. President helped us out with the money situation, and we hit the road. I found out we can use gmail to call our families. I`ll have to try and reach them some way and let them know. I met Elder Elder tonight. He`s from Logan and really cool. We`re sleeping in Cañete tonight...on the floor.

Thursday: We woke up and every single one of the 10 Elders that were staying at that house had to poop diarrhea. I`ve never seen a group of more valiant and stronger men. We went to the Distrizona and I had a great time finally meeting some Elders from the North. I`ve been trapped in the south the whole time, so people all think I`m new, and are surprised to find I have almost 8 months. We talked about the people we`re helping, and I`m happy to know we have some baptisms coming up. I bought some powdered milk to live off of for the next week or so. We had lunch with the mamita and her vamily. It was soooo good, and we got sorbet for dessert. I was happy to find out that they have internet and offered their webcam services to me, for Christmas. I called home real quick, and Cassie picked up, but the computer didn`t have a microphone. So we`ll try tomorrow with my personal one. I slept for 2 hours on the floor (cement) last night. So I went around in silent, solemn meditation, even though some people would say I was barely awake. Believe me, I was meditating. We ended the night at the house of a recent convert. When we got home, we had fun with our ping pong table. time to sleep (finally)!

Friday: Part of me doesn`t want to write tonight. I feel down and a little bit sad. It`s not anything horribly strong or impedin, but it feels like something`s rotting in the back of my mind, and the potent fumes are ogging up the rest of my thoughts. I don`t want my focus to go to those things `cause I`ll realize how far away from home I am, after just losing my only friends in Chile, in a city I don`t know, on Chrismas Eve. Yeah. Best to stay away from THAT train of thought. This is probably not something I could have handled at the beginning of my mission, and one for which my Heavenly FAther strengthened me. We got up and did our exercises which included push-ups, sit-ups, and ping pong. we cleaned up the house for the Branch activity...Fernanda just called me and wished me a merry christmas. I feel better now. they called in the middle of Elder Orellana`s prayer, right after he asked Heavenly Father to help me feel better. That was interesting. We had a delicious lunch and then I tried to call the family, using gmail. The microphone didn`t work at first, and when it finally did, my family didn`t answer the phone. I did a few test calls and Alan was the first one that worked! It was so good to hear from him and the fam. We had dinner with the Olivares family. The mamà, Jaueline, is so nice. She noticed I was down, and talked with me. We left before they opened presents.

Saturday: Today was an interesting and very special day. We started out with calls to our families. Elder Orellana`s called first, while he was in the shower. they all screamed, "Feliz Navidad, hijo!" and I had to tell them (shamelessly) that I wasn`t their son, and that he was busy. But I got to talk to mine after that. I revelled in it, hanging onto every word. I spoke to mama and Daddy first. They wanted to make sure I was doing alright, and I got to tell them a little about what Chile`s like. they told me how much they loved me. then they went to pass the phone to CAssie and Devin. I told Daddy I wanted to talk to him last, because I didn`t want to say goodbye yet. It had caught me off-guard, I only got a half-hour with them. I spoke with Devin and Cassie and told them how proud i was of them. It felt like I was right there, at home with them. They said goodbye, and I never got to say goodbye to Daddy. I felt suddenly very alone. So I did what any smart Elder would do: I set out to make someone`s life better .We did contacts and offered to do service. One man was kind enough to let us dig a firepit for him and his family I got to lose my thoughts in the simple work of diggin ga four-foot hole. An old lady was nice enough to yell, "go back to your families and leave mine alone." That stung, but I just moved onto the next house. At night, we played ping pong to 100, and I won.

Sunday: Today was my first Sunday in the Tirùa branch. About 10 people showed up--3 of them adults. But it was an interesting experience. I got to bless the Sacrament for the first time in 2 years. we ran out of Sacrament cups, and had to use 1 glass for everyone. It only took half of the glass for all the members in the city. Dang. In the Sunday School class, we learned about Spiritual gifts--I have had this lesson 6 times in the past 3 months. It`s getting old. But Elder Orellana pointed out the gifts can be used outside of th gospel. I realized three gifts that define me: Knowledge, learning, and love. I have always enjoyed having knowledge. Whether it was knowing the schedule for the day or a funnyt joke. Learning has alays come easily and quickly to me. Learning and memorizing just holds a simple joy for me. And love. Love, I`ve discovered, is the biggest part of me. It has never been a question. I enjoy loving others for a reason that remains unknown to me. I have wanted nothing more than to be loved and accepted by a special someone ever since I saw little kid cartoons with "happily ever afters." But I`ve found my Heavenly Father who loves me and will give me my own "happily ever after" in due time. And I can`t wait. (I think that the mission is like a really slow time machine. Everybody will be different. And so will technology. *excited hyperventilation*)

Monday: We woke up today and slept in/ lay in bed until about noon. We didn`t have breakfast or lunch... or dinner. The most I could do was a bit of warm ecco/milk. But that goes away after abou an hour or two. We couldn`t go write the familyt because we`re saving our money, and going to cañete tomorrow anyway, so we`ll just write tomorrow. So, to make up for that, we worked in the afternoon like we normally would have tomorow. We talked with a lot of people, but no one was really interested...yet. I don`t know what it is, bu tI feel kind of down. Maybe it`s the small village, or the reluctant people, or the nightmares I`ve been having of my family recently, or maybe even the stupid one-week starvation. But whatever the cause, I`m hitting a rough patch. I thought about the Savior, and how he helped people according to their faith. He literally wouldn`t be able to help the, unless they did their part first. So I mentally hiked up my britches and kept moving forward. I thought of Cassie and all of my other friends and wrote a few letters. I felt better after that. I loved talking to my family. It made me feel like I was home. But it ended, and I was on th other side of the world. I havne`t cried yet, but it`s coming.


Tuesday: This morning we went to our Distrizona meeting, hopefully for my last time in Temuco. I`ve been here for a really long time and can`t focus very well. I am still working hard, but it`s becoming a deliberate effort. We had a lesson on how to start teaching the first lesson with someone. I p'lanned on teaching about Eternal families in the practice, but my "subject" was gay. I told him that he wasn`t doing it right. That`s when I learned my lesson about not going into a situation with a plan. You lose the Spirit. So I continued asking questions and getting to know the "subject" and got to find a different thing to teach them and help them. It was a valuable lesson. We ate lunch and went out to work. we had an appointment with a couple of drunks that I`ve been telling we`d pass by since July. We talked with them and I thought their doubt was about baptism, but I felt I should ask more questions. And not just the normal ones. I had the idea to focus on correct doctrine and getting them to understand. We did that, and we got a return visit. I made a picture frame for the millahuals with a photo of us.

Wednesday: I got up and set to work on preparing a study guide for a scripture list we got yesterday that we have to memorize by next Wednesday. There are 61 scriptures. It took 3 hours to write all of the ones on just the first page. Then we went to the Civil Registry to get my Chilean ID. The country is in a state of suspension to the public because of a protest 2until further notice." I leave (probably) next Tuesday, and my chance to pick up my Carnet expires January 26th. If I leave without it, I have to come back to THIS registry in Temuco. So let`s hope it opens this week! We went straight to work on the streets. We found a guy that studies the Bible a lot. He wass like, "I`ve read a little bit of the Bible." Then he started naming off scriptures like nobody`s business. He said people are to be baptized "in the name of Jesus Christ." We baptize "in the name of the Father, and of the son, and of the HOly Ghost." He said those aren`t the actual names. He`ll get baptized if we can find how to baptize in the Bible. We`ll see. If it was there in the first place, we wouldn`t have so many churches, now would we? It was so HOT today. I got red, even through the SPF 30 sunblock. Elder Oversby doesn`t want me to go because he`s used to me. I`ve really learned how to love selflessly from him. I got all of the millahual family to write in my journal. I felt really sad to read the words as if I had already left. I can`t imagine how sad I`ll be next week. I`ll be devastated for Christmas.

Thursday: We helped the Bishop make a garage today. We got to dig the holes for the posts with bare hands because a shovel would make a hole too big. Then we put up the posts. I had to lift a post on top of another one. A certain height was required. I stood on a pile of loose dirt that I had made myself to try and reach that height. I tried as hard as I could, but wasn`t able to reach. Then my dirt pile fell and I almost dropped my load. But that was when the Bishop, who was on his ladder higher up, reached down and caught the post and raised it to the necessary height. This is a great analogy to the Atonement.! We try and meet the standard of the Lord, which is perfection. We may even raise our own amount of good (pile of dirt). Maybe some of us fall from that good work. but the Savior`s sacrifice helps all of us reach that standard if we keep reaching. I saw his pile of firewood and thought of our firewood rack we had back home. I thought of the stove at home, with Daddy reading at it`s side. I wanted to do it with him...maybe on an ipad. I just missed being home for the first time in a while. Then I somehow talked with Oversby four hours later about it. I felt sad for a lot of reasons. But then I felt really happy and excited for the adventures we`ll have when I get back.

Friday: We woke up to the sound of rain pouringdown outside. Thankfully, that was at about 6:30. So I eagerly burrowed into my warm heavy, wool blankets and snoozed for a while. Even though it`s almost summer, I still wake up shivering without the luxuries of a thermostat in the 40 F temperatures of the mornings. We eventually got ready and went to get my Chilean ID. I have to do it before Tuesday, or I leave and would have to come back to Temuco. We got there, only to find that the person who helped me start the process way back in October had failed to do it completely. So they finally did it right, and I have to wait until next Friday! But they assured me that I can request them to send my information to the offices that do, in fact, exist in other cities. So that`ll be okay. We visited some people to say some goodbyes to, and I realized something: I`m going to miss these people and be missed. We all laughed and enjoyed each other`s company, but it was accompanied by the subtle pressure that comes with the knowledge that something good is short-lived. It was another time that helped me appreciate the time I have in the present. Kamila, of the M illahual family, left to the South for Summer vacation tonight.

Saturday: Today started out with an ugly argument. Elder Oversby didn`t like the plastic chair he had gbeen using and borrowed Elder Rodriguez`s while he overslept. When Rodriguz came up, he got angry and they both denied and accused. Then Rodriguez stormed off and Oversby mumbed, "Tool" as he went. Rodriguez told him to say it to his face...so he did. Then a steady stream of bad words followed. Long story short--it was my turn to pray when we left the house. Oversby complained the whole way to our first appt.--just about how Rodriguez was wrong. It was then that I realized how far I`ve come with my own Christlike attributes. I really would have avoide3d all that, personally. I talked Oversby down, and helped him see from Rodriguez`s point of view, like I do when I`m angry. They still didn`t really clean up their friendship. We worked all the afternoon to finish all of our work today so I can say goodbye to people tomorrow. We also found out our next transfers--I finally get to leave. And the more I think about that, I`pm more scared. I`m going to a place called "Tirùa." It has 20 members and a population of 500. It`s the joke of the mission, it`s so small. There`s no house for the missionaries, so I`ll live in the Chapel for the next few months--3 blocks from the Ocean! There`s no internet or phones for myt 1 phone call. But I can travel to the next-closest city two hours away. I`m feeling more than a little nervous because there`s no grocery store within 120 miles, either.

Sunday: We woke up to a call from the Bishop to come to the chapel in 15 minutes. Well, we made a frantic dash and managed to arrive to the meeting to listen to the ward set goals for the new year for two hours. It was totally unnecessay. We had our people in the chapel and enjoyed the talks. Surprisingly, one of them was mine. The Bishop hadn`t bothered to let me know ahead of time: like during the two-hour of nothingness that morning. But I usually write something up on Saturday nights for just this instance. So I got up and said my goodbye talk. I spoke about finding out who we are. That I`ve had a wonderful time having that exact blessing in this ward, and that they can find out who they are too, through the Gospel. I managed not to cry. The Bishop went up after me and thanked the Sister Missionaries (who also had said goodbye) then turned to me and started crying on the pulpit. I had broken down completely at this point, and the Bishop thanked me for touching his heart and that he`d never forget me. A sister came up to me afterward, and asked me to come by her house tomorrow before I go. I have visited this Sister maybe 2 times, but I could tell by her tears that I had touched her, too. She`s Hna. Angelica, the one with cancer, that we gave a blessing to. We spent the afternoon with the Millahual`s and Robin & Bilha. I missed girls today, after rereading some of my letters. I had almost forgotten about life in the states and not as a missionary. Almost 8 months! I packed up today, and memorized all of the 61 scriptures. I`ll review them again on Tuesday, on my long bus ride.


Monday: First off, some funny things happened last night. We all talked until about 3 in the morning. I THOUGHT I was awake. Apparently I had been having conversationg with the others while I was asleep. Things like "Raise the tent!" or "Compress the church in...in Santiago," or even "There aren`t enough Priesthood holders to pick the flowers!" Once I was in a deeper sleep I snored. Lisonbee, with whom I was presently sharing a bed, asked me to stop. I suddenly roared, "FOOL OF A TOOK!" Apparently that`s a Gandalf quote from Lord of the rings, which I`ve only seen twice. My family didn`t write me today. Elder Oversby had a difficult experience. I told him it was a growing experience. In the instance of bones, they stretch and then develop. Sometimes though, if something stretches too much, it breaks. Growth is forward change. The secret to growing and changing in life, is to learn how to stretch and not break. I explained to Elder Oversby that he`s growing. He`s stretched. When he`s in a situation like that, he just needs to remember that, although he`s got the desire to move forward and he`s all stretched, that`s also when he`s most vulnerable and weak. He just needs to move on and grow.

Tuesday: We had our Distrizona meeting this morning. Everything went smoothly and we left on time. Everyone left and we were the last ones out. A man with shaggy, long hair and what appeared to be his pajamas walked up to us. From close up he looked like some kind of hippie. As soon as he reached us, he asked, "Where did I come from? Why am I here? What will happen in the next life?" My heart fluttered for a second in surprise before we started helping him. Turns out he doesn`t live in our zone. We got his number and passed it to the corresponding missionaries. I hope that they can help him. While we were doing work in the afternoon, Fernanda called us to ask us to buy sopaipillas from the Stake fundraiser. They were very delicious. Then we ducked back into the reain and got to working for the rest of the night.

Wednesday: Franco called us this morning and asked us to move our afternoon appointment to the morning because he had a doubt. We rushed over and found he had a problem accepting that Jesus Christ and Jehova are the same person. We helped him understand that by teaching about the Pre-mortal life and the Plan of Salvation. He accepted it very well. He hasn`t smoked for 3 days either! This afternoon we went by Ignacia. She was happy to see us, and, after a few weeks of not seeing each other, we took the opportunity to have a social visit. We foung out a little more about who she is. We went to our ward meeting with good news about the mission work. We fdropped off our clothes and went to Robin and Bilha`s. They couldn`t attend us because their kitten had just died and they were sad. We came home and my bed felt sooooo good.

Thursday: We got up and had a good time talking as a house. Elder Rodriguez is still drinking mate. He also swears every now and then. He said the "F" word a few times and I asked him to stop because we shouldn`t do that. He said that we shouldn`t listen to music through headphones either, which I do. I like to listen to the mo-tab or piano while I study. But he had me there: I was doing something just as bad as swearing. That was a scary thought to have. Is there a difference in the levels of sinning? A variance that can be measured? Absolutely not. If we even mess up a little bit, we are lost in the sight of God. So I hastily found a liking for quiet study time and started to repent. We had lunch with Renato and his family. They had other things going on and got started late, so we went a little over the time of our lunch hour. We visited Estefanìa before doing contacts. We found a lot of people who are willing to hear the Gospel. a few, even, who have been investigators before. Tonight, we started divisions and i`m with my friend Elder Josè Sanchez until tomorrow night. It`ll be fun to work in another sector for once.

Friday: I had a really good time with Elder Sanchez. We got up and went out to work. It rained today. A lot. And not "a lot" in the sense that it was more than average. "A lot" in the sense that after 6 hours of HEAVY POURING I wondered when Noah was gonna go cruising by. It was raining big ol`buckets of the wet stuff. We ate lunch with a family that lived in Utah for 10 years. They spoke English and there waas a 10-year old boy that reminded me of Dev. He showed me all of his toys and made me watch him play Dragonball Z on his Playstation 2. It was then that I realized the thing I miss most is people speaking English...everywhere. But I like Spanish. I`m excited to call home on Christmas day. We worked outside for a while because all of the appointments fell through. But we visited a partial family where the dad doesn`t want to be baptized and doesn`t know why...just like Papà Joel. We watched the Joseph Smith movie and had a very spiritual lesson afterwards. He wouldn`t budge. But the wife told me that not only did I speak spanish well, but that I didn`t have an accent. So that was nice. We came back home and now I`m excited for sleep.

Saturday: today was a cold day. I think I upsetted mother nature or something. But I eventually conviced my aching and tired body to get out of bed. Here, it`s the equivelant of the beginning of June. But it hailed for the first part of the morning and rained the rest of the day. We had lunch with Hna. Espinoza and I predicted it: three potatoes with questionable meat. Questionable bacause I didn`t trust it. It was a sphere of turkey--"turkey"-- bones with some cartilage in it. So I couldn`t get my knife in, and I didn`t really want to. We went home `cause Oversby left something and wanted to get it. I laid down for just a moment, and an instant later and it was time to go. just as I was about to go out, the rain picked up to a raging Torrent. I told Elder Oversby to motivate me because I didn`t want to go out. He said he couldn`t make me do anything and that it was muy choice. Well that did it. I put on my rain gear and galoshes and headed out...into the glarin gsunlight. Heavenly Father went and blessed the unworthy servant again. It didn`t rain for the rest of the day. Tamara, the neighbor and Robin and Bilha, was struck by her father along with her mom. We talked with them.

Sunday: We got up and went to church. We picked up Ignacia (nacha) on the way. She was excited to go with us. I was a little nervous during the talks of the rather stern speakers. But she said that everything was beautiful and that she felt very peoaceful. I`m glad she`s sensitive to the spirit, because I was just feeling hungry . She came to the Sunday School class with us too. The teacher took forever to show up, so I took time to get a replacement book for my "gospel principles" that I gave away 3 months ago. When i came back to the class, the 2nd counselor in the Bishopric asked me to teach. I was dismayed to see that it was on the word of wisdom. It was Ignacia`s 2nd lesson on her first day at church! It is the lesson most investigators shave problems with. But I taught well, I thought. Bilha told me it`s the most comfortable she`s ever felt in class, Cristina said she learned a lot and that it was a fun class. MOst importantly, Ignacia said she`ll start trying to quit the bad substances that she`s been taking. We had lunch with Robin and bilha and watched "The testaments" Wwith their neighbor, Tamara. We spent the evening doing contacts.

Alright. This is a special letter. It`s for my grammy. She`s been feeling sick lately. I love her soooo much! She`s such a strong example of faith for me. She just keeps plugging along admirably and faithfully through the trials of life. I`m so happy that I can tell my investigators that she`s obeying through all of these hard things, and that they need to also, or by George they`re just not up to par. Keep this wonderful woman in your prayers this holiday season. We all would appreciate your support.


Monday: My family`s email this week told me about their adventures during Thanksgiving. Colton, my cousin, is back from his mission from India. His time flew by. Mom and Dad are pleased with how he matured and impressed them a lot. They saw Harry Potter 7 part 1 while they were at Gram`s. We had a cool FHE with the Millahuals. We read Jacob 3 & 4 and I told everyone to say what the Atonement was for each of them. It means so much to me, knowing that my big brother knows all of my pains and troubles. And he did it for ME.He doesn`t want me to pay him back. It`s like piano lessons that are paid for by your mom. She pays for them, not for any benefit to her, but because she wants that gift for me. Elder Oversby and I talked again. I finally found my true problem I have: I need to find satisfaction in the moment of life. I asked him how ot find that peace. He asked, "Do you believe every good thing comes from God?" I felt sobered as I realized the implementations of that. God wants what`s best for me. Every thing, good or bad, is for us. Our lives are crafted for us, individually. My life now is as important as the future or past. I feel satisfied with my Father and Christ.

Tuesday: My District leader called at 8, to remind me I had to teach the class on Tithing. So I studied for that during my personal study. I taught it well enough. It`s interesting to think why God would want our money and income. It`s not like he`s going to use it to buy anything. He owns the whole Earth! It is an act of faith and sacrifice. It doesn`t go to any man, but helps construct the Kingdom of God. (Haha. I`m noticing my vocab. is different because of my Spanish vocab.) We visited Jonathan, and he was sick. As we left, I got clotheslined...by an actual clothesline! We visited a Sister who was sick. I asked what she was sick with. She teared up, and her lip started trembling. Right then, I needed an enormous crane or a dangerously sized pack mule to pull my foot out of my mouth. She told us she had a cancerous tumor 8cm long. She looked fragile and very, very scared. We gave her a blessing of health and comfort. Elder Oversby gave the blessing. He told her she had a long and difficult path ahead of her. It was so heart-wrenching. We did a lot of good work today. We found some people, and talked to a whole lot more. We`re getting better at working together. we visited Robin and Bilha. Bilha`s teeth have been hurting her. She refused some Aspirin because she might be prenant! That`s so exciting!

Wednesday: I slept through the alarm today. We all did. I woke up first, and got ready. Then we went to see if the money had arrived yet. I was so excited when it did. I hadn`t eaten breakfast or dinner in two weeks! I still blame the fact that I bought gas. We went shopping, and I spent the least money. Oversby spent almost 3 times more than me! I got one cereal that will be gone in 3 days, and some oatmeal that should last two weeks, as well as powdered milkl. I`m excited. We ate lunch. It was my third time eating clams and oysters. I am definitely getting better at eating them. I have to say that out of all the springs of my life, I have never been so...wet, as I have in this one. It`s raining almost constantly. We went out and talked with people. they didn`t want to talk to us. Well, one woman talked to us for 10 min. (outside) before telling us she was hard-core adventist. We went to the house to ready the sheets we had to bring to our ward meeting. I asked Elder Oversby to help. He asked me to do it alone, because he doesn`t know the people very well. He knows them just as well as I do!

Thursday: Today, for my personal study, I decided to analyze my Patriarchal blessing...on a "bottomless trench"-level of deepness. One thing that has always confused me is that it says that I`ll "receive, and manifest, and give the love of Christ." What`s the difference between manifesting and giving love? So that`s been my question for months. I read in Mark that when Jesus "manifested" something, nothing was hidden. When I read that, I started to cry. I heard, recently, that when that happens, it`s God talking to you. I was happy to know (fully) that I`ll manifest love, but in the same moment i was excited to know I`ll receive it one day, too. We planned for the week, before going to lunch. I got a really bad headache afterward. We talked with people all afternoon, and NO. ONE. would listen to our message. We couldn`t find new investigators. We did visit mamà Maite for a little while, to see how her back was. It was hurting her yesterday. Then we had an FHE with Robin and Bilha. Bilha`s molars aren`t hurting her anymore. We talked a little about temples. They`re excited to get sealed next year. It was at that point that I realized that I`m going to miss the people of this ward. Very much.

Friday: I woke up at about 5 in the morning and couldn`t go back to sleep because I felt a little ocld. My throat was painfully swollen. It hurt to swallow and talk. Then, after I was all ready, I felt really nautious. Elder Oversby let me rest until lunch, which I appreciated. When we went outside, the air was fresh and wonderful. I started feeling better right away. But for lunch we had 6 baked potatoes...without any seasonings. It was awful. But the end, I was about ready to throw up. We came back home, and I slept that off too. We headed off to Jonathan`s, for our appointment, but he wasn`t there. So we went to Estefanìa`s house for a visit. We taught Cesar, so he can be ready for his baptism in December. We called, and got a hold of, Ignacia again. She was so happy to hear from us. She might be able to come to church this week, too. I got to teach English to some members. It was really cool to be the one translating for people. We went to Robin an dBilha`s to finish the night. While we were at the Church, the members showed up, for their temple trip. Sonia and Ernesto were there! they didn`t want to go at first, but I got to teach them and changed their mind. They`re going to be an Eternal family, and I helped!

Saturday: I woke up and my did my exercises, but stopped as I was forced to acknowledge my condition. My throat was still swollen and sore, I woke up with a migrain, and my neck was stiff. So stiff, that my vision was limited to a far smaller area due to the pain moving would cause. So we took it slow again. I was grateful again. We headed off to lunch, and the Sister wanted to talk about swimming. that was a sweet torture. I realized that I really miss being weightless and feeling the almost friendly resistance of the water around my limbs. So...wonderful. We did Permanaced and found an 11-year old member--only one in his family and inactive. We talked with him for a while and invited him to come back to church. We can`t really do more than that. We did contacts for a while before we ran into Renato`s daughter. She invited us over for a visit. Renato was there this time. It was so good to see him after 2 months of nothing. He invited us to lunch on Thuirs. I am really enjoying the friendships I`ve made down here. People that I can talk to. People who want to talk to ME. It`s a nice change. Elder Barajas will visit Temuco tomorrow from his current sector. Yay!

Sunday: Today we had a really cool testimony meeting. I really enjoyed Mamà Maite`s testimony. She got up to the pulpit and told the whole ward that she had been struggling spiritually during the past week. Or at least until we had had the family home evening with them. She told how the most helpful thing for her had been to hear all of her children say what the Atonement was for them. She started crying and thanked us. Then Sonia and her husband, Ernesto, went up. They were sealed yesterday, and she got up there and started talking but quickly started crying and, bless her heart, I didn`t understand a single word. But she was obviously happy and touched. It was such a blessing to see them come from being less-actives in July to feeling God`s love fully. It`s times liek these when I remember why Ipm on the mission. During our lesson in Sunday school, we talked about service. They said that we never know the good that we`re doing. He went on to tell how some missionaries had stopped someone from committing suicide. I just exchanged a look with my comp. and we felt like missionaries who had done a good job. Elder Barajas and Elder (check this name out) Logatila Tonumaipe`a (who`s from New Zealand and talks like the guys from "flight of the Conchords") are visiting Barajas loves the new house, and I love talking with someone about old times.


Tuesday: We got to the Distrizona meeting on time this week. And our numbers were really happy with us. I don`t know why, but with Elder Oversby, I`ve had to do a lot of the work. So it felt good to receive praise for the work that I got to direct. We talked a lot about self-consciousness today. I tried to encourage Elder Oversby to be more confident, and encouraged him to set down strong habits to display confidence and feel good about himself. It felt really good to be at peace with who I am, and help someone else. Especially with how low my self-esteem was last year exactly. Elder Oversby was really sick today, so we got to talk. We also visited the Millahual`s. They were talking about an Elder who just got married. Suddenly all my confidence flew out the window. I was worried by the experiences (or lack of) before the mission. Nothing has happened yet, why would it? So elder Oversby girded his loins and started working on MY fears. So I got to see an almost instant reward for my act of love to him. The whole Millahual family helped me feel like a great person, with someone waiting for me.

Wednesday: Today I had a bit of a scare when I found my passport to be moved from the place it had been for the past month or so. Worse, was the fact I hadn`t noticed until today: I looked everywhere, for about 20 min. Oversby told me to pray. My first (admittedly sinful) thought was that I could find it eventually by myself. But I know that`s not the spirit of God. So I prayed. I re-searched my suitcases. Not only had I looked at my passport, but I had touched it in the solitary pocket. Amazing how the lord opens our eyes for us. We were walking and Oversby said, "I don`t know where wew`re going." He had been dragging his feet, walking slowly. And I knew full well that he knows the sector now. So I told him to "walk with purpose and decide!" It`s his decision, and he has all the preparation he needs to act. Sometimes, as the examples to others, simply the way we walk can bring others to us. A brisk walk will make them think, "I wonder where they`re going in such a hurry?" Acting decisively is second nature when we`re working with the Spirit. We need to have confidence in the decisions we make, and trust that the lord is guiding us. We taught Franco. He`s not as much of a psycopath when you think that he just needs help. Robin was tinkering with our phone, and erased all the contacts on our phone, as well as rendering our charger for it useless.

Thursday: So I thought the interviews started at 01, l ike always. But it started at 9. I got there at 9:30, thinking I was a half-hour early, but I was late. We went through our individual interviews. when it was my turnn, I asked the President how to find a love for work. I think he heard "the work" instead of "work," and gave me advice on mission work, which was appreciated. He said that between 4 and 12 months, the missionaries decide what their second year will be like. We`re nothing at the beginning, next to our awesome comps. Then they lower, and we rise in ability. When we got to the higher point, and have to drag our comps, we should keep on dragging them to higher ground. It was only after the interview, that I realized he hadn`t told me how to get up to that higher point of a good work ethic. Maybe he was trying to tell me "good job." I`d like to think that. As we walked home, I felt tired, and decided to take a side road. There, a man ran up and introduced himself as a brother from Santiago. He had a co-worker who had depression he wanted us to visit. We went, and saw he had been dumped. Empty bottles and wasted cigarettes littered his table. He didn`t want to talk, so we just listened for 2 hours before his mom and dad came. He had had a suicide note ready, cut wrists too. We helped save him. We couldn`t have done that if I hadn`t taken that side road.

Friday: Today, our leaders called for our numbers. That sucked. I have no idea how it happened, but We`d only done 6 contacts, and two of each lesson--and the week`s almost over. It has just been one random thing after another, and even though we were outside, we hadn`t had much success. But when they asked for our numbers, they asked to speak with me, the junior comp. It sucked. Elder Moreno acted friendly, then asked, "What do you think you`re doing?" It was such a quick change, that I wondered if I had misheard. I couldn`t remember what had been stopping us from teaching or contacting. But we had been out working. I guess I had been following Elder Oversby a little too blindly. I told him I would do better, and asked for any suggestions he had. I could tell he wanted to help. But when Oversby heard, he felt insulted and angry. But I had never felt better. I talked with EVERYONE. Even a Catholic pastor. He told us that God would smite us. I directed our work, and we had David`s baptisimal interview for tomorrow. Then we had the ward English class. Only four people came. franco came with a hat that said "FBI: female body inspector." The sisters weren`t happy with that.

Saturday: Today I had a good time, and a bad time, and a "meh" time. The good time was in Personal study. Well, it started in the shower. I was thinking of what I read in Alma 27 Yesterday. Alma and Ammon met up in a desert, and it says that was the full joy of life. Today, I wanted to know what the opposite of that would be: What is the source of greatest grief? Then, as I continued reading today, I got my answerf! It said that death is that sorrow. I also think it might be trading what you want most for what you want in the moment. Interesting. we had David`s baptism today... or tried to. It was great, until the font. He started saying it was too cold and started shiving violently after getting one foot wet. He wouldn`t go further. His Grandma came in, coaxing at first, then starting pushing or trying to carry him. He said he was scared and started screaming and crying. So we didn`t make him. His violent reaction scared me. Maybe I messed up. maybe I was nervous for my leaders reproach. I felt awful. We eventually found out he had a family member die in water recently. After that, I was numb and apathetic. I had been shaken. But I`m better now.

Sunday: Today was the end of our rather odd week. We went to Church and, conveniently, had a lesson on work. I thought it was a little wake-up call from Heavenly Father in letting me know how in-tune he is in my life. We had lunch with Bilha, before going to work. Nobody opened up because of a soccer game. We got to visit with Nestor. He actually had to go and find another house to buy because some guy cancelled the other deal. His neices stayed in their rooms rather conspicuously. But Guillermo, without being asked, went and got his little book of Mormon we had given him. He brought it back, witha bookmark on 1 Nephi 4. He told us, excitedly, that he had been reading. He told us of a mislead childhood, full of errors and mistakes. He told us he wanted to change, and he believed he could accomplish that through the Book of Mormon. He feels different when he reads that book. He feels different when he reads that book. He feels like he`s doing the right thing. Change is a big thing. It`s my favorite miracle--to see someone leave behind a life of sinds to come see the light. Guillermo might not be ready to do something as big as baptism yet, but his time will come, little by little. I knew Heavenly Father would take care of them!