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

Friday, March 18, 2011


Tuesday: We got up this morning and took guiltily long showers and I didn`t have time to shave before we left to the Distrizona meeting. We kind of lost our focus there ecause we were saying goodbye to everyone. I wrote a special letter to Elder Heiser to tell him how much I loved him. He had a really cool spiritual war with a convert. She wants to get baptized but her folks wouldn`t let her. So they fasted yesterday. They almost quit early, but Heiser wouldn`t until he knew it was resolved. At 2:00 he ended it. They went to his investigator`s house and found that her mom had signed the permission slip 20 min. before. Heiser`s mission ends Tuesday, but his parents are coming to pick him up and he`ll get to baptize whiel they`re here! I`m so happy for him. Tirùa was a little bit different today. We ad a lot of people we found. We got to teach lessons. We spoke with one girl who, once we explained baptism, was like, "I think I`d like to get baptized like that." But she lives with her boyfriend. Some kids asked me to lower a branch for them. I barely did when the big branch snapped and fell in the road! Woops! Montoya asked me to look at him. I did, and he inspected me closely. Then he said, "Yup, I want a latino comp." He insulted my incredibly dashing features, the fiend! Later, he poured sprite on my hot dog. aaaah! Gonzalo called to tell us he missed us. Dego too. Such good kids. I`m so proud of them. I`ll miss Elder Heiser.

Wednesday: Today our gas ran out. But it ran out during MY shower, going to prove that all showers hate me. In my personal study, came across something really cool. It`s alma, talking to his son, Helaman, saying he knows all the hard things he passed through in his mission. He said, "[He] was able to bear all things with patience because the Lord was with [him.]" I like to think that that`s why I`ve been able to be so patient with Montoya: because the lord is with me. I actually found out why he`s such a poop to me. I`m the first person to have found out his dirty little secret in the whole mission: he`s 25 years old! He`s always though he knew better than me. I guess he does, but he`s still a poop. An old one. He told me he thought the mission sucked because we have to reset our weekly numbers every week. dug! He thinks that baptisms don`t dount for anything. Yeah. I`m done venting. We got to help Luis puentes an dhis mom move things from one house to the other. We cleaned up the church because Hna. Swenson will be checking. Diego and Jassay both called me to tell me they missed me. I`m so happy to be in the mission and meet all the great people and friends! I`m glad I get to teach young men how to bless the Sacrament for the first time, and I`m grateful for th opportunity to grow. It`s hard at times, but always worth it. I mena, just being able to speak and understand is a blessing here.

Thursday: In my personal study, I found a cool experience in Jeremiah 29:12-14. It`ss talking about the Lord, and how we have to look for him, and when we do, we`ll find him. I thought of the hide and seek games I`d played with little kids and how I`d make it easier for me to be found. I wanted them to look, but I also wanted to be found, to make it easy for them. It`s the same with Heavenly Father! We just need to lok. I realized while we were doing contacts, I realized that there is only so much progress as junior comp. I need to move up in order to learn more things. We found a grandma and her granddaughter. They had a VERY hot house. But I think they have a great chance to be baptized next month. We left and the recent "heat" (really it was my sweat) made a stronger reaction to the cold wind outside. Then we found some 7th-day adventists who go to church on Saturday. We helped them understand the Sabbath day better. They`ll attend on Sunday. We reactivated a less-active member and ended by carrying a 100 lbs. gas tank 6 blocks (by myself) and eating completos (my payment for carrying the gas). In the house we had an 1 1/2 hour discussion about how we felt for each other. Turns out my comp doesn`t hate me. He just wants to help me learn. I knew that. That`s why I haven`t gotten angry with him. But i`m still happy I only have 5 more days in Tirùa.

Friday: Last night rained a LOT! It was so loud! The wind was about 50 mph. It shook the chapel all night. As we were about to leave out to work, the zone leaders called with some disturbing news. Apparently, there had been an 8.9 earthquake in Japan and all of Chile was on alert for a tsunami. I looked out the window grimly at the ocean, mere blocks away. We hastily packed up everything valuable we could find: two changes of clothes, and my journals, and all of my letters. We spent the morning passing by all the members, making sure they knew and spoke about their worries and concerns. We helped them feel better and basically ministered unto them in general. We dropped off our things at the Olivares` during lunch. They had invited us to spend the night at their home becuase they live higher up on the hill. We spent the afternoon passing by the investigators. That was good too. We fillled up water bottles and tied down the furniture. We had an FHE with the Olivares family, teaching Diego about the Priesthood. He is so good. Right now, I`m waiting for the Tusnami to come. It`s not too fun. Jassay and Diego are making me translate their favorite English songs so they can understand them. It`s 12:48. In 12 minutes, the news says the Tsunami will hit. We`ll have to see how it goes in the morning.

Saturday: So nothing dramatic happened to us during the night. We got up at 7. The country was still on alert. In northern chile the tsunami was pretty bad. It carried boats and even a few houses with the force of it. Here, the tide rose about 3 inches. At about 10 in the morning the alert went off for the whole country except for Tirùa, Quidico (little village 15 min. away), and lebu. The President of Chile flew overhead to view the scene from his helicopter. At about 3 in the afternoon, they shut off the alert for Tirùa and the rest. We had lunch with Jassay and Diego. I got to listen to them teach me chemistry elements in spanish. The climate today was about 20 degrees colder than usual. Brrrr. We taught Nikolas the Word of Wisdom and went to the Wilderness to pick blackberries. They live right on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the sea. It was the best view I`ve found in my whole time here. We found out our transfers tonight. I`m going to Talcahuano! It`s the Northernmost city in the mission. The assisstants say that it`s the best ward in the mission. Unfortuanately Everyone agrees the house is poop. The only thing good is the shower. That`s alright. Let`s pray this one doesn`t hate me. Oh! And my comp. will be Elder Bernal. They say he`s chill. He`s got 20 months.

Sunday: Today had it`s ups and downs. We walked all over town, reminding people in person that they had committed to go to church. But when church finally did start, almost noody came. It was funny when on eof the babies was offered the sacrament. She said, "no" in a matter-of-fact voice. She`s one year ole. So cute! Juan blessed the Sacrament this week, and didn`t stutter or anything. It was so cool. told him that stuttering wasn`t nearly as embarrassing as having your voice crack over a microphone. Ooph! I gave a talk on the Book of MOrmon and said farewell to the little branch of Tirùa. I taught my class on the eAtonement, and helped them understand why it was necessary. We had homemade mashed potatoes for lunch, on of my favorites! The ZL`s called to chew us out for lacking 40 contacts. What they failed to realize were all the lessons taught because of all the people we DID find. That`s what took up all the contact ttime. It was a good week. Elder Montoya still gave the Zone leaders and earfull--a small thing compared to my daily dose. I felt bad for them. I finally figured out Montoya today, or earned his trust. He said he really enjoyed our time together and that I was a good worker. He`s thankful for my patience and wants me to write him after the mission. We spent the evening saying goodbye to our new investigators we`d found. I also found out, thanks to a little puppy, that my ears are more ticklish than any other part of my body. So that`s the end of my 7th transfer. One more, and I`ll be completing my year mark. woot!


Tuesday: We got up today and went o our Disrizona meeting. On the way, I go o talk with Elder Elder. Last nigh, we had to share a matress `cause he and Elder Gibbs arrived oo late to make it to their house. Anyway, Elder Elder thinks highly of me and I hink highly of him, so we get along quite nicely. Unfortunately, Elder Gibbs was so sick, he told us it felt like he had eye cancer. I paid Hna. Olivares the lunch money, after receiving assurance hat I`d get reimbursed for i. Weve been working with Victor muñoz, a member that`s inactive and going to another church, for some time. oday, he agreed to come on Sunday. that`s cool, because Pres. Swenson said he might come down to Tirùa on Sunday. Today`s heat reminded me of the Joker`s quote fom "The Dark Knigh." Bu instead of "why so serious?" I thought, "Why so wet?" It was REALLY hot. I came across something in my thoughts today. I had been thinking of how I was, emotionally, before he mission. I woul have described myself as depressed, judging by hte music and attitude I had had. Bu even in that time, I wasn`a depressing person, and even though I listened o music that said I wanted to be alone, I really didn`. Even in those itmes of emoitonal disress, when I hough I had to act differently or though I had changed, I hadn`t. We are always in charge of ourselves, and maybe here`s a line we can`t cross, an identifying characteristic, that makes us who we are, no matter what. Maybe THAT`S our soul/spirit that we got from Heavenly Father?

Wednesday: today has been such a good day. Actually, it was rather ordinary, bu I am so happy! I just want to shou on top of a mountain...and then explode or something. We woke up at 5:00 so we could arive at the training conference by 10:00. A lot of Elders said their farewells today--including Elders heiser and Frankson. I`pm going to miss them terribly. One of the Elders said "We miss our family for two years, bu we`ll miss these two years for the rest of our lives." I think that`s true. But boy, do I miss my family. A lot of people complimented me on my spanish. A few said that I sounded like a native. It`s not like I ask for compliments. they just note my spanish standing out of the other gringo`s spanish. I was so happy becuase I got to see all my friends. And Elder Lisonbee called to tell me he saw a red-eyed squaker--the evil bird that chased us in Temuco. I got letters from both Cassies (sister and friend). Cassie (friend) is so awesome. I believe her letter made the difference in my day. Cassie (sister) old me she loved my tape and consiered it a blessing in a time when she really needed a big brother. I`m spending tonight with Elder Heiser. He`s really happy too. And when we`re boh happy, we smile...a lot. He`s in love with the girl that`s been writing him the whole of his mission. He told me all he sweet things she says and does. I really care a lot for him. He`s said he`s only felt free to talk so openly with only one other person in the mission. I told him I`d come to his wedding.

Thursday: We go up early so we could come back to Tirùa. Elder Montoya says he`s tired of having a square but from all the bus rides. Haha. He`s only been doing it half as long as I have! He`s got plenty of joyous bus rides to go. We came back and planned our day. Our distric leader called for he numbers. We haven`been in our secor apar from 4 hours on Tuesday. So hey were prety bad. We had an interesting lunch. A first I thought i was ground/creamed corn. Bu it was a purèt of potatoes, squash, carrot, corn, smoked pork sausage, beans, and onions. It was really good. It`s called, "Chakikon." We talked with a crazy man. He told us that Jesus go his powers to heal people fom a moon on Jupiter. I asked if he thought Jesus was a superhero. His response was him running away with his hands in the air, screaming. hat was really funny. We p0assed by Valeska`s mom, Elina, for the first time since sunday. According o MOntoya, She`d quit, bu we went anyway. She hadn`t quit on us. She told us what she`d learned in her Book of mormon study, which she`s been doing. We told her about Diego`s baptism on Saturday. She was like, "So anyone can come? May I?" She also really likes how we don`t repeat the same things as the other churches, and how we have classes. Then we went to the beach with Dego o choose a spot fo his ibaptism. It was really prety. We chased off a flock of seagulls (well, some chilean version anyway.) then I responded to my letters.

Friday:I feel like today was something of a waste. Not terribly, but it wasn`t spent very well. We did divisions with our district leader, Elder Gibbs, so he could come and interview Diego for his baptism tomorrow. I go to go with Elder Allen to Lebu. He`s only got 2 months in the mission field, so I was Senior comp. We have a lo in common that I haven`t found in anyone else. But it was interesting to see him making the same mistakes and experiment wih the same experiences hat I did when I had his time. We didn`t get in the secor unil 4:30, and we`d missed our appt. a 4:00. So we skipped lunch and went over o Stefani. She go o the sector abou two weeks ago and wants to be baptized. We taught her he Plan of Salvation. Allen couldn`t talk very muich, and I was in a state of suprise as I saw things from the perspecive of the comp. that speaks the language. Very strange. We taught snother invesigaor the Wod of Wisdom. He was willing to commit,l and understood it was because our bodies are temples. I loved being in a sector wih actual invesigators and members tha help. It was a good experience. Gibsb said Diego passed his interview. yay! Something really funny, is my english. Lisonbee and I always spoke with fake british accents. I`ve been with Latinos since that transfer (3 months). Now that I`m with gringos, I speak with it again, and they thinik it`s cool, and wouldn`t have been able to tell if hey didn`t know me personally. So that`s fun.

Saturday: So school`s staring again. The vacations started when I arived in Tirùa, and now everyone`s going back. When I was little, Summer vacaions seemed to las forever. Things are different now. I`m different now. Elder Allen and I met up with our own comps. in a Supermarket. He shopped and complained that "They have `this` in the states, why not ehre?" I told him we weren`t in the states. And I had a weird deja vù as I remembered Elder Barajas telling me he same thing in he same voice. It was a strange feeling indeed. On the news, there was a cat/bunny mix. The head was a cat`s, bu the rest was a bunny. It was foggy and rainy all day. I said a prayer that it would improve for Diego`s baptism. 3 hours later, during the talks, it got sunny. We went to the beach, and changed behind blankets. We walked hrough the VERY sticky mud. A german shepherd chased us down and played in the water. Very cool. I said the prayer, and as I ried to let Diego down and get beter footing, my foot go REALLY stuck! Diego`s weigh almost tipped me over, bu tI got my foot clear. It was really special. We went back to the chapel o celebrate with alfajores and chocolate milk. 5 min. after we returned, it started to rain again! Heavenly Father gave us a hole in the clouds just big enough for the baptism. So I baptized in Tirùa, thanks to him. something that hasn`t happened since last February. I`m so grateful for his love and for Diego`s desire to follow him.

Sunday: Todya, Victor muñoz, our little apostate member hat goes to another church, came o ours. Acually, he go up front and bore his testimony. I was praying he wouldn`t ruin things. When I said, "Amen," he wrappe dup quickly and go down. I heard a story about a nosy neighbor who always looked out her window ot see her neighbor taking clothes out of a rinse cycle and hang them up dirty. Time after time, the clothes were always dirty. She mentioned it to her husband. He looked out, to he neighbors and said, "Honey, go wash he windows." sometimes we`re looking for fauls in each other so much tha we can`t open our eyes and see our own dirty windows. We had 32 in chuch today! Only 15 were attending when I got here. I taught my class on eternal marriage. At the end, everyone raised their hands when I asked, "who wants to get sealed in the temple?" Everyone but Solange. She liked he Elder that baptized her, and did it for him. She said she didn`t want to be with her loved ones forever. It was weird. We gave Diego the Holy ghost today. It was so cool. He otld me several times he wanted to talk to me, bu we didn`t have time. On the news, there was a saber-toothed deer. There are a LOT of really weird animals showing up on the news lately! During my lunch of spaggheti, I bit ino something that CRUNCHED! then my mouth was on fire. They threw an ajì pepper in my lunch! Montoya go mad at me for walking ahead. I was on the phone with the ZL`s and he sopped walking to see if I would notice. I was busy so I dind`t. He lectured me until I saw readon, bu the did it so hurtfully. Now I join him in counting down the days we have o suffer each other`s presence. The only difference is that I do it in my head. Also, something cool that I figured out is the deal with Diego. We were so focused on Maybilline for all those weeks that we ignored him. But by teaching Maybilline wih him present, we reawakened his desire to be baptized. I think that was the lord`s way of blessing us for our work. Oh! And Maybilline called to tell us he missionaries there have passed by 3 times, and she went to church. yay!


Tuesday: Today kind of sucked. It started out wonderfully, though. On the way to Cañete, Hna. Olivares called us and told us that Maybilline had stayed and wanted a baptisimal interview. That was cool, because the Zone Leaders had already planned on intertransfers anyway. We dropped off tithing and went to the Distrizona meeting. I taught the class on inviting investigators to follow-through with commitments. Then we started the transfer. I got to be with Elder Frankson, my friend. We waited for an appt. with a member. The appt. never came. Then I got to write the family. They hadn`t written me. But I wrote and Elder Frankson didn`t pressure me. We got to use bikes to visit all the appts. I got to appreciate the freedom of walking--without a sore bottom. Other appts. fell through. When we met up with Montoya and Elder Wilde, I asked how it went with Maybilline. Turned out that Maybilline hadn`t asked for an interview. She still wants to wait a year. When MOntoya and Wilde showed up, Gonzalo and Meyo had gotten mad, thinking it was all a plan. Hna. Olivares had set us up! In the end, Maybilline will pray for an answer. With Diego, Hna. Olivares said the two just had to drop off the permission slip for the mom to sign. The first thing the mom said in reality was, "I won`t let my son get baptized." A lie. But in the end, she pensively went to talk with Diego. Hna. Olivares called later, telling us the permission had been signed. Jassay called later, saying it wasn`t. Yet another lie1 Montoya will ask president tomorrow to take us from Tirua.

Wednesday: today was a little bit better than yesterday, but only because of some news. But I`ll get to that later. First thing we had to do, was go to Lebu so we could start MOntoya`s Visa. Inconveniently enough, we travweld three hours there, on the only day of the week the Visa man isn`t there. So that killed our morning. While we passed through Cañete, I bought some new converse shoes for $12, which was good. We got back in time for lunch. Hna. Olivares is gone `til Friday. I acted surprised to see Maybilline and Gonzalo. They were so happy to see me. I had been missed by everyone. After lunch, we went home and were depressed about the lies from yesterday. On the way to a visit, we stopped by the Olivares again to see Diego. He told us his mom wouldn`t let him go to church or see us again. I was devastated! Then he pulled out a slip of paper...the signed permission sli! He wants me to baptize him next saturday in the ocean! Sweet! I spoke with Maybilline and Gonzalo and told them the truth about yesterday. They felt better. They still want to wait a year. But when they come back to Tirùa, they want me to come and baptize them too! If I can get permission to come, that`d be great. I told them how proud I am of them and how far they`ve come (they both pray out loud now), and that I`m proud to be their friend. So that was the good part. I wanted to prepare before that talk, though. Yesaterday, Elder Frankson said we needed to ask Pres. Swenson permission to confirm the Holy Ghost before Sunday. Last week, he had told Elder Montoya he could BAPTIZE during the week, and Montoya had misunderstood. He got angry for Frankson not being specific. He said we didn`t need to talk to Maybilline `cause she was a lost cause. I wasn`t going to give up. I told him to call the ZL`s and ask what to do, but he was too mad at Frankson. I got Frankson to ask Presa. Swenson about the confirmation. He called back and said yes. I did it so that in CASE Maybilline had changed her mind in the last 24 hours, we would be prepared. Montoya thought it was a waste of time. After the talk and we had found out she still wanted to wait and I was hapy, he asked, "What good did it do to call Frankson and the Pres.?" I felt comfortable as I explained that we had to prepare in case she said she wanted to get baptized. Then he said, "So did it do any good?" I saw what he wanted and gave it to him. "No." "That`s what I thought." What a jerk! How...childish. I was angry, sad, and frustrated. I wanted to call Frankson and tell him my problems and frustrations, but realized that would be just as childish and wouldn`t solve anything. So I let him have what he wanted, as long as it didn`t interfere with the investigators in a negative way. Haha. When we had to leave in the night, Maybilline, Diego, and Gonzalo barricaded the door so I couldn`t leave. They wanted me to stay longer. I felt loved by them, and that love was manifested by the Spirit. I felt loved!

Thursday: We got up this morning and had Scripture study as usual. I was reading in Alma 31 about the wicket Zoramites who preached to a god abou thow good they thought they were by not believing in Christ. I felt sick and guilty just reading it. Christ did EVERYTHING for us! Our existences would be in vain if not for his sacrifice of a degree of love I can`t even begin to comprehend. We had an appointment with Valeska today. She had questions about the Book of Mormon. Of course! That`s what we wanted to teach her todeay. So we did. It was a really good lesson. She asked babout the things we don`t do. We mentioned some things of the word of Wisdom and by the time we finished, she agreed with it. She`ll pray for an answer. Her mom heard a little of our lesson the other dasy and told Valeska, "I`ve never gone to church, but if I had to choose one, it would be that one." It was SO hot today. When it`s really hot, the chileans say, "The lice are crawling." I realized why it seemed so hot to me: I haven`t had a summer in two years! I skipped back to winter last July, and June was spent indoors. Hno. Ugartemendia made repairs to the chapel. That made me happy. We were teaching Diego at the church when the electricity in the whole town went out. We walked Diego home. The stars were so BRIGHT! It was breathtaking. I spoke with Diego and got him excited about his baptism. Montoya was grumbling ahead of us. Diego says he doesn`t trust him. I was so proud of him. :) I`m writing by candle light. Montoya is yelling at me `cause it`s 11:15. He`s the one who wanted to walk Diego home.

Friday: Today I got to read Alma 32. It is a really beautiful scripture. And a thought came to my mind as I read: that these words were written by a real man who actually lived. Alma described how a seed of faith feels when it grows: Alma said it feels like "swelling motions.2 We practiced/re-taught Diego the restoration. We read a little of 3 Nephi 11 with Diego an dGonzalo. I felt the "swelling motions" a kind of pressure within me, that pushed out, as I read the words of Christ. Hna. Olivares got back from her trip to the country house. the rest of our day was spent on the beach, saying goodbye to Maybilline and Gonzalo--for reals this time. It was fun. I love to climb the boulders there. At one point, Maybilline separated herself and sat on a rock. She seemed lonely, and I know from experience that not everyone who sits alone necessarily wants to stay that way. So I sat down and just kept her company. After a while she asked me to pinky promise I`d visit her after the mission. I`ll be happy to. I bought everyone completos. Then we droped everyone off. As I walked away, I turned back to see Maybilline holding up heer pinky. Aaaah! She`s so sweet. Montoya thanked me for all I do. He said without me, we wouldn`t have a baptism. He thanked me for being a good teacher and helping with the lessons. Then he thanked me for putting up with him. I was grateful for that.

Saturday: I`m giving another talk in church tomorrow, so this entry`s kind of late aain. My handwriting`s awful right now. I`m pretty tired. We were running all over town today, because Valeska told us she and her mom want to come to curch tomorrow. There`s a Sister Ines in the ward. She`s tough, even though she lives with her mom (buh-dump-dump- sssss!) She told us straight up, "I don`t want to go." We pretty much begged her, telling her we needed everyone, and she eventually said yes. Her mom, by contrast of attitude, went to get her tithing. She was short on bills and dug through all her coins, down to the last peso, to pay her tithing. She`s a sweet little Grandma. I was thinking about how Daddy said he`s been aching and hurting lately. I didn`t want to lose him. And a "solution" that came to my ead was to not love and separate myself. Why love anyone at all? It`ll just hurt more when they die. Then I pulled on my brakes as I realized what I was saying. First of all, I`m the hopeless romantic that loves everyone. Second of all, every one of those statements would contradict the things that I`ve found in my Scripture study lately. Satan was playing off of my fears. But I`m okay now. I missed Maybilline today. they`ve become a pretty big part of our lives here, in Tirùa. We found some post-it notes they had left around our room saying things like "I`ll miss you, "I love you guys" or "I`ll never forget you." I hope they find their way to the Gospel soon. Montoya was rude again today. I`m sick of trying to guess what he wants.

Sunday: A year ago from today was the big 9.4 earthquake in Concepciòn. Coincidentally, the day started off with a 6.3 earthquake. We got ready for the day and headed out to get an investigator, Castula, to bring her to the church. She didn`t answer. Valeska and her mom weren`t at the church when we started, but arrived soon after. I gave my talk on tithing, using my parents as an example. I remember one ear, right before Christmas, they only had $6 after paying their tithing. Then someone dropped off a big box of food on the doorstep. We never found out who it was. My Sunday class was on missionary work. Diego was the only one who really listened. I even taught about missionary work in the Spirit world. He liked that. After church, Elder Montoya told me that Valeska tried returning her Book of Mormon to us. She thought it was ours. But she took it back and will go to Temuco this week. We still have an appt. with her mom on Thurs. At 4:00 pm we got a call from the Elders in Chillàn (Maybilline and Gonzalo`s city). Apparently, Maybilline and Gonzalo had waited outside of the chapel (they didn`t know when church startede) and had chased down the Elders to give them their contact info. They`d also given the Elders our number so we could give them the skinny. I`m so happy for them! Tey`re still progressing forward! All of our appts. fell through in the afternoon, and we ended up packing our bags to go to Cañete to be with Elder Hewiser because the other 3 elders are receiving training elsewhere.


eeting. Elder Frankson got a call from President Swenson right there, saying that the mission depot. had messed up his assignment and instead of leaving in June, he leaves in four weeks! He was so happy! I was happy for him. Then I found $100 in my account. That was nice. At internet, I got everything typed up on time. In the afternoon, we had a lot of miracles. The coolest thing happened first. We spoke with Gonzalo, Maybilline, and Diego (another cousin and a really good friend.). We spoke with Scriptures and power and confidence. It was unreal. We challenged all of them to baptism. gonzalo doesn`t feel ready, even though he passed the interview. Diego needs permission. And Maybilline said yes! We got a tunic for her for this Sunday. Montoya`s organizing interviews for Saturday. Maybilline didn`t want to pray. Gonzalo said something that hurt her, and she ran away. We went out to the swingset and cheered her up. MOntoya was so sweet to her. He said it was all a lie afterward, but I didn`t believe him. :) Our active members are 18. we`re having a district conference where the prophet will speak just to south Chile. The news says a huge earthquake will come. Anyway, for travel, we need 30 members. And we did it. We went to the inactive/partial families and they said they`d come. AND a family of 11 are visiting. Strange that it should happen at this time. Amazing!

Wednesday: I`m feeling pretty confused and frustrated. I don`t know what to do, and neither does my comp. It feels like we`re in the middle of a fight that we don`t have anything to do with. The day, everything (mostly) considered, was pretty good. But the sector of Tirùa is pretty hard. The sector is part of the Branch of Cañete, and for distance`s sake we`re in charge. But Pres. Torres, the brother from Caete, has been a jerk to Elder Montoya after all the hard work he`s put in. pres. Torres has said that he hates Tirùa and yet has to help save it, so he dumps it on us, then tries to set impossibly high goals, then reaises them higher when we complete the first ones. That`s one side of the war. The other is Maybilline. She`s so ready for baptism. We want to baptize her. But why? For us? For the members? If we do baptize her with just half a desire in her heart, when she goes home, who will support her? Will she go to church? Probably not. So our question is, what tdo we do? If we talk with her, she`ll feel pressured and say, "no" regardless of how she feels. I don`t think she`s prayed yet, even though she claims to have done it. I`ve prayed and don`t know what to do. Part of me doesn`t want to do it because she`ll go inactive anyway and the missionaries will ignore anyone who`s already baptized. But if I don`t do it, I`ll never know what might have happened. I just want her to have the happiness I know the gospel can give her.

Thursday: This morning was our day for weekly 0planning. We don`t have that many people to plan for, so I used the extra time to study Spanish grammar. I haven`t studied the grammar aspect of Spanish since the MTC, just focusing on vocab. In my study today, I reviewed the whole book (220 pages) and found the last few things I hadn`t known already. I felt pretty good with how far I`ve come. Hna. Olivares came over and told us Maybilline and Gonzalo wanted to speak to the two of them alone. We got really excited about that. After lunch, Elder Montoya told me that Hna. Olivares had already spoken with Maybilline--she put her baptisimal goal for a year from now. Which is great, actually. But think of all the blessings she`s losing. Or if she`ll retain that desire a year from now. Elder MOntoya was ranting when we got to the house, calling her stupid. Wind buffeted the house, and I imagined I heard laughter floating on the air. We weren`t good enough. It was really hard to maintain my own attitude, while listening to my comp. She`s a good girl. I think she`ll be alright. I hope she will. She`s certainly made this time in Tirùa bearable. I had a dream last night, that I was back home. I felt homesick, but I have found such a tremendous comfort through prayer. My Heavenly Father loves me and all of the people of Tirùa. He`ll strengthen them through me if I am strong enough.

Friday: Today was really hard for me. I was wrong about Elder Montoya. Even deep down, he`s not waht I thought. If people won`t/can`t get baptized, he won`t even talk with them. We found out today that Diego, the nephew of Hna. Olivares, has a plan to get his mom to sign his permission slip for baptism. When one door closes, another opens! Maqybilline told us herself that she`ll be baptized next year. I was happy that she got up the confidence to say the "b-word" out loud, much less put a date. But when we left, Elder Montoya started swearing and complaining, blaming her reason for waiting on the pressure the fam. olivares gave. He called them stupid. And then I told him off. I told him they were good people trying to help their family. He said I didn`t know what I was talking about. He mad eme do all the contacts, saying I needed to learn something. It was miserable. We visited Duval, my little 12 year-old friend, then went to contact a contact. While there, Duval ran up and started playing with us. He eventually took off with my nametag. He`s really just an innocent little kid. I understood he was just playing. On the way home, Montoya said he`d ruined everything and we`d never go to his house again. I was so distraught and knew I couldn`t say anything, so I hummed "Behold, `tis eventide." To give me hope and comfort. He told me not to, `cause it depreciated from his monologue on how evil Tirùa is. I apologized and he said, "It doesn`t matter. I only have to deal with you for 3 more weeks."

Saturday: This morning, we helped Hna. Rosa (who`s not a member) gather firewood from a wood yard. It was harder than I thought because the good boards were trapped under others. Montoya would find them, then tell me to pull them out, claiming he was too weak. We had mashed potatoes with chorizos (smoke pork sausage) for lunch. We have a plan for 7th-day adventists--we`re going to do all of our Saturday contacts in the street, `cause all of the active adventists will be in their "temple of worship."
We met a really cool girl, Valeska, today. She was like, "What do you do? I`ve been looking for a church to join, but I don`t know how to decide. Why are there so many?" I looked at her like Scrooge Mcduck at his pile of gold. Sadly, we found out she leaves to Temuco next week, my old sector. Today, nature hated me. We were on our way to a visit when a giant bee chased me. I dodged and didn`t see it anywhere. We kept walking, and 5 whole minutes later, I felt something on my arm. An itch. I went to scratch it, and felt a ball the size of a marble. The bee had been up my sleeve the whole time! Naturally I freaked. I danced and shook, and raced into the sister`s house to take off my shirt. It never stung. I think the Lord helped witgh that. Later, in the night, we were walking and I heard a loud hiss by my foot. Looking down, expecting to find a cat, I about jumped out of my pants to find a cobra about a foot long by my foot. A sister said it`s `cause of the mist. We taught Diego and he accepted the challenge to be baptized. He will also bless the food and pray to show his parents his desire.

Sunday: A lot of the member swho said they would come to the conference bailed. But the bus driver still expected to be paid for the reserved amount. So Elder MOntoya paid the equivilent of $70 out of his own pocket. I told him that was nice of him. He said when he runs out of money, I have to pay for him. It was a really good conference. We got to listen to a seventy, the pres. of the YW and two apostles: Elder Christofferson and Packer. Elder Christofferson`s a stud with Spanish. Turns out Elder Holland (random, I know) was a mission president in Chile at one point. They told us there are 20,000 members who are men and in the eligible age range to serve a mission. All that are leaving are 567! Montoya thinks they were trying to trick us because they didn`t specify how many are act8ve. On the bus ride home, I ha d aspecial experience. Diego, our investigator, noticed my glum face and cheered me up. He said he wants me to baptize him. He says when he goes away for school, he wants to find a friend like me. I was filled with so much love that both English and Spanish seemed too small to express it. I felt happier than I have in a while. It was like a lighthouse in a dark storm. Only two years of such love? If only I was better at helping others find this love! Diego says he writes about me in his journal and the good things I do for him. I think he`s got it backwards! Montoya behaved himself relatively well today. that made me happy too. Maybilline and Gonzalo leave Tuesday: :(

Monday: So today was my pday. WE mostly slept all day. we almost taugh in the morning to a really great investigaro, valeska, but we already had another appointment with her in the evening. Montoya wanted to go anmyway. I talked him out of it, and he threw a big fit. Diego and Gonzalo played ping pong with us forever. Diego told me how much I meant to him. It surprised me. I was dismayed to discover that I`m still bad at explaining my feelings. I just can`t express myself without sounding weird. That makes me scared to go back home. I`m not ready yet. We had a horrible visit with an atheist--someone who doesn`t believe in God. He believed everything he had was thanks to him, and that there was no life after death. We asked if his girlfriend wantedd to talk. He was confused, then said, "Oh! You mean the mother of my child!" How horrible! Our lesson with Valeska was awesome! She`s been to all the otehr churches, looking for truth, just like Joseph Smith. She picked up things very quickly. the saddest and most emotional part was when we said goodbye to Maybilline and Bonzalo. I gave her the blue tie in which she had tied the chilean knot I`d taught her. I gave Gonzalo my black shorts he`d asked for. I stayed up `til 1 AM last night, writing them letters. Meyo was crying. She called me later to tell me my letter had made her cry again. in her letter to me, I could see how much she`d grown in her faith.ñ When they were about to leave, Maybilline offered to say a prayer! She`d gotten animatedly angry when asked before. tonight, it was beautiful. If only they`d been baptized!

Okay, just to not end on a bad note. I`ll let you know what happened today. We got called in the morning by Hna. Olivares. She told us she had bad news. She said, "You have to bring your district leader to Tirùa.... SO HE CAN DO MAYBILLINE`S BAPTISIMAL INTERVIEW!!! In her prayer last night, she had asked heavenly father to provide a way so that she could stay longer. Well, it worked, and she wants to get baptized! I`m in Cañete, and our Zone leader is on divisions with Montoya, doing the interview. Amazing! I`m soooooo happy!


Tuesday: We got up and out on time to head to Cañete for our Distrizona. I tried to take my much needed money out of the ATM, but it hadn+`t arrived as it was supposed to. One more week hoofin` it. During the Distrizona we had interviews with our Zone Leaders. I spoke with Elder Frankson. He`s from Costa Rica, but speaks english like a gringo `cause his Dad`s from canada. I told him of the conclusions my feelings had arrived at, and the process that got them there. He said that was good. Frankson`s already got 2 years and 1/2 a monthy. He got sick early on and stayed in a HOspital away from home, but it didn`t count for his time so he`ll be serving for 2 1/2 years. He told me that sometimes we have to pass through more than one gethsemane. I thought of Ether 12, where it says we don`t receive a testimony until after the trial of our faith. I can`t deny that I learned things from Argueta. I can do this. I still have a lot of time to grow and change and learn. I realized again how short the missiion is, and how much I love it. It`s a safe (knife points aside) and semi-controlled environment left with some freedom. How wonderful it is to progress! I`ll do my best to follow Christ`s example.

Wednesday: Last night, I found more rocks in my bed. Haha. A siren blasted at about 11:30 last night. I thought it was a tsunami, but saw a fire truck zooming off. I about jumped out of my pants when there was a 5-point earthquake 15 min. later. My alarm went off at 3:30. Needless to say, it was a long night. We got up and I got what I think to be my best haircut ever. I got it from a member who just finished beauty school. EPIC!!! We tried to do contacts, but we gave up after a while without success. We went to the chapel, and practiced teaching the Plan of SAlvation in preparation for tonight`s lesson. I found a lot of scriptures that had never found before, all in the Bible. On the way to lunch a BIG dog started chasing me with fangs bared. So I used a trick I learned from Oversby: the stare. It still growled and hissed, but didn`t advance. I knew if I moved away, I would see the sign of weakness. It eventually gave up, and I walked away shaking. We didn`t have time to teach the Plan of Salvation, so we reviewed baptisimal interview questions with Maybelline. She gave responsibility to Hna. Olivares, her aunt. She might still get baptized! We passed by a contact with whom we had an appointment. She wasn`t in, but we got there just as her 17 year-old daughter was leaving. She was really receptive. We have a return appointment for next monday. I think she could get baptized. We came back to find that the girls had removed the boards supporting Elder Montoya`s bed. He was swearing up a storm. I smiled as I realized he wasn`t complaining that they did it, but because it was obvious.

Thursday: We started out today with an activity in the church. We invited all of the youth to come and play ping pong. Maybelline and Jassay didn`t come, but Maybelline`s brother did, and we got to teach Gonzalo about the Plan of Salvation. I got to tell him that I knew where my Grandpa was and that he could know these things were true by way of prayer. We went over to lunch only to find that Jassay and Maybelline had had to make lunch, because Hna. olivares had to go to cañete. It was rice (expertly boiled) and two hot dogs. Simple but scrumptious! Jassay and I were talking, and we got on the topic of my journal (I don`t remember how). She asked if she could read it. She seemed surprised when I said yes. I asked if she would let me read hers. She said no, because it was personal. I was in a philosophical moood and postulized. I figured that people, in general, create bonds by sharing things that are personal. Thoopse are the things that make us different form those around us. Also,k when we judge others, we`re not defining them. We`re defining who WE are. We`re spending the night in Cañete with the Leaders for the interviews tomorrow. Elder Heiser and I will definitely be friends after the mission. Elder Frankson and I have a good friendship and a lot in common. He`s awesome.

Friday: I had a great day today. We all got up on time and went from cCañete to Lebu for the interview meeting. Elder Trevor Vincent is one of the asisstants to the President. I used to hang out with his sister, Cami, a lot for a while. Now there`s a rumor in the mission saying that I dated her. Haha. But Elder Vincent`s a stud. I see how the ways I`ve changed affect my friends. I have lots. People come talk to me and want me to talk to them. I used to have to start all of my conversations! In my interview with the President., I got to talk freely about how I`m doing. I had been waiting all week to talk about Montoya and his behavior, but when the time came, I didn`t do it. I said we HAD struggled, but as I thought about it, Montoya and I get along really well now. During some of the activities, we were laughing and joking like old friends. I told President that during my difficult time in Tirùa, I had learned a lot of good things. He sighed, and leaned on the desk, and assured me that this time was not meant to be something to be endured or to learn a lesson. He said, "Enjoy it!" So I will. We got back at 8 and experienced a 7.4 earthquake followed shortly by a 7.1 aftershock. CRAZY FUN!!! We watched "johnny Lingo" and I taught Maybelline how to tie the chilean knot I had learned. I got a letter from Jess. She`s really awesome, and Kevin`s a stud.

Saturday: I`m tired. It`s 12:58 and I`m jsut barely getting to this entry. We spent the whole afternoon visiting members, getting them excited for tomorrow`s meeting aso I didn`t have time to prepare my two classes and my twenty-minute talk. Ugh! Tomorrow I`ll be monologuing to an audience for 8 hours in Spanish. Hoo boy! But today was exciting. Lately, this mama dog has chased me every time I pass it. Last night I had a dream that Cassie (sister) raised an army of this dog to fight my pokemon army because my orange soda fell on her laptop. It was a fun dream! :) but weird. We made Jassay and Maybelline clean up our room today after all the messes they`ve made. They did good work. For lunch, we had an interesting salad. I thought it to be a chicken salad, but it had this asalty kind of Jello. I asked what it was, and they said it was "ñachi"--coagulated lamb`s blood. ugh! yuck! yuck! yuck! We looked for inactive members and found the wife of one. She wasn`t baptized and didn`t really listen to anything we said. When we left, Elder Montoya thanked me. He said he had forgotten how to be a missionary. If somebody`s baptized and active in another church, he cuts off the conversation there. But I didn`t. I thought it was normal, but guess Montoya had forgotten. I knew I could help him. Heps actually a really good guy. We gave Hna. Pablina a blessing for health. He`s had a pain between her eyes. I`m disappointed by how full my oil container still is. Time to sleep in my clean bed! (seaside summer storms=yum!)

Sunday: I did it. I monologued for 3 hours in Spanish. My tongue got tired. I taught a lesson on the Spirit world, becuase of Grandpa`s death. Gonzalo, Maybelline, and Nikolas all came. Maybelline told me, after the class, that she had understood everything really well...unlike the first time I taught the Plan of Salvation. I taught the YOung men how to strengthen the family. Gonzalo was really interested in this and made really good comments. after church, Hna. Olivares was filling out her tithing. Her daughter asked her whose money it was. She told her it was God`s. The daughter asked who took it to him. the answer was, "the missionaries." Her eyes widened as she asked, "They go to heaven?!" "Every Monday." haha. Montoya asked the kids what they learned in my class. Everyone had comments that I didn`t remember saying. Then I understood that they had learned by the spirit, not me. We visited members all afternoon. ONe lady didn`t answer her door. I got a feeling from the Spirit. It was like a pull...towards the door. I was like, "I`m not gonna do something crazty like that." And the spirit was like, "You`re gonna do something crazy like that." So I broke down the door. It wasn`t bolted, just a wooden board. WE found the sister huddled in the corner with her boyfriend holding a knife. It wasw intense, but we got him to calm down and call the cops. We ended the night teaching Gonzalo. He started talking about the Plan of Salvation. He had read the pamphlet we`d left him. He made comments of twhat he thought and was right as he used all the terms correctly. We asked how he felt. He said every time he was with us, he felt peace. I love it when people say that answer, because it`s always the same. It helps my testimony as the spirit helps them learn. He likes to hang with us, more than his family. Tonight, he will pray for an answer. They`ll leave soon (maybelline and gonzalo). With a miracle, he might get baptized.

Monday: Happy VAlentine`s DAy! I actually didn`t remember until this evening, but when I did, I called Lisonbee and asked him to be my Valentine. When we woke up, Elder Montoya wanted to go out and work on our pday. I told him no, and that I wanted to rest, because my stomach hurt. He was upset, but aquiesced. Lehi and Gonzalo came over for a ping pong tournament. We played and I tied for first with Gonzalo. He won the tie, and we got him a complet. We ha d areally yummy dsoup broth with macoroni noodles for lunch. In the afternoon, we watched "The other side of heaven." It was a really beautiful movie. Elder Montoya wanted to leave to work early. I thought it was totally rude of him to cut my only day off, short. We found an apostate member. He used to (still does?) have the priesthood--something rare down here. Now he goes to another church because he wants to shout and scream "Hallellujah!" with his hands in the air. He studied in Madrid, spain and so montoya took a liking to him. We had a bit of an argument tonight. Usually, whe I type up my weekly reports, it takes 1 hour and 15 minutes on average. Most of my comps. have been accepting of this. But Montoya says he won`t let me tomorrow, and I can`t really say he`s wrong. What do I do? Also I bought a bunch (bushel?) of carrots to live on. Yay!


Tuesday: I think that my goodbye to Orellana was the most emotionless out of all my comps. Even when I said goodbye to that jerk, Argueta, I felt something--even if it wasn`t exactly Christlike. But Orellana and I just didn`t really bond. We joked, but didn`t ever really get to know each other. But I learned how to be more generous from him. He was always selfless. Always shared with others. But I`m still pretty shy. But from what I`ve seen of my new comp, MOntoya, I think that problem will be solved presently. He just goes up to people and starts talking to them and punching them in the arm like they were old friends. While I was waiting for him to arrive at the terminal, I had a great time chatting with the other elders. I knew all of the names and they knew me. I spent a good amount of time talking with Hna. Barillas. She`s from San Diego, and is so chill. It made me realize that I missed english. You can play with it in a way that you can`t in Spanish. Words like "sammich" for example. Elder Montoya and I will get along really well, I think. He`s excited to work, and I won`t be the one to dwell on past weeks of failure. We`ll do awesome! We started by getting home on time. Something Orellana was hesitant to do. Let`s here it for sleep!

Wednesday: Today kind of sucked at the beginning. I mean it was BAD. We got off of the bus from Tirùa at cañete for our Distrizona meeting. I wanted to go to the supermarket and get something quick to eat. WE turned down a little side street so we wouldn`t have to deal with common way traffic. It was still early, and there was actually only one old guy on the street. We walked past him, and were almost back in to the crowd when something tugged my , turning me around, and I felt cold steel on my neck. The old fart had pulled a knife on me, and I didn`t even see it coming! My first thought was "I got out done by an old man!" my second was, "What can I do to make that not happen?" He answered that by pulling my wallet out. He pulled everything out and threw all my cards and ID`s on the ground, thank goodness. But he took about $50 and my last american dollar. Darn him! If he had the Gospel, he wouldn`t act like that. But, for being in Tirpua, we get double the monthly amount to compensate for travels. Still...what a jerk. Elder Derek Heiser is totally awesome & funny. He goes hom eafter this transfer, but says we`ll hang out afterwards. I shoed montoya around Tirùa, introducing him to some members. We`re going to get a new ward list, and reactivate people. We taught luis again. He was weird. He seemed to have forgotten what we`ve taught. He was like, "I`ve already been baptized." So we taught about authority and he`ll come to church this sunday.

Thursday: I was really depressed today. I won`t say that it was Elder Montoya+s fault, but he certainly made a strong impact on me. He has a very negative attitude. I think the thing that hit and hurt me most was him voicing the doubts that had been whispering to me about Tirùa. He murmured about the leaders, saying they didn`t need to check so often and that he knew better. When I tried to brainstorm of ways to help Josè Luis change from being gay, he said it didn`t matter, as long as he has the required amount of church attendance required for a baptism. We talked with an old, inactive sister. Montoya spoke so friendly and happily, but afterward said it was a waste of time because she`+d probably forget in ten minutes. Then, later, he said this was a horrible sector. That was all before lunch. It literally made me sick, `cause I wanted to go too. It`s so hard to face failure so often. All the Olivares noticed I was down. Montoya told me to suck it up. When we left, he said, "I hate this too, but you`ve got to pretend you like it." I can`t do that yet. I can`t act out lies like he can. I WON`T act false. The visiting Olivares family members would tell jokes and then laugh and point at me, thinking I hadn`t just heard and understood. Like I was stupid. I took some ibuprofen and felt better. We contacted and visited members. We`re going to try and baptize Rosendo`s mom this transfer. Maybelline`s back from the youth camp. Tomorrow, we`ll ask how it went.

Friday: Today, our work started at 8. We were asked, last night, to come by and bless a member`s truck with strength. Personally I that that one was a bit odd. This member is the sister of Hna. Olivares. As we were heading out after the blessing, Hna. Olivares and her husband came in, and invited us to their country home. I was about to say no, when my comp. said yes. He explained Maybelline`s parents would be there, and it would be a good chance to gain trust so they`d be more likely to give permission for Maybelline to be baptized. It was beautiful up there. We had meat, potatoes, and watermelons for lunch. We came back and showered and went to visit members. That`s where trouble hit. My comp. yelled at me after every visit. They were little things, and he would lecture me, just like stinkin` Argueta did. He introduced a scripture and had me read it. So I did. When we left, he said I was stupid for not explaining HIS scripture. We visited Hna. Maritza. He didn`t know her, and accidentally called her sister "Maritza." Then he yelled at me for not saying "Hi" before hm. I felt sad, like I did back with Argueta, but then felt anger. I`ve come a long way. He yelled at me for being quiet and shy. he talks 100 mph and I CAN`T talk. This guy`s such a jerk. I don`t know if it`s pride or not, to think that. I will be humble enough to accept his advice and I`ll be tacheable, but I won`t have him talk to me, or complain about me, like that again.

Saturday: Good things and bad things happened today. But such is life. Today, we started with an activity with the youth. I prepjared a few object lessons about prayer. After that, Elder Montoya played ping pong while I spoke with Maybelline. I was like, "have you spoken with your parents about your baptism yet?" She sat down and sighed. That couldn`t be good. She said she dind`t feel like now was the time. My mind went, "FLOOOOOONK." I asked what was stopping her. I still don`t remember her answer. I know she`s felt the spirit. But I didn`t want to bully her like SOME people would have. Before lunch, I spoke with Felipe, one of the visiting cousins. Yesterday, in the country, he said if we got in the river, he`d let us baptize him. He`s 15. We didn`t, but today he asked me about the church. He said he`s seriously coinsidering baptism now. I wrote him and Maybelline powerful testimony letters. We ran into Maybelline in the street. She had read the letter already and felt pressured. I felt bad and almost apologized, but testified agian. We had spoken with her father beforehand, and he`d sign the permission slip if she asked him to. I mentioned this, and I saw her "light up" a little bit. Oh, I hope I did okay today. I`ve felt happy and satisfied lately. Like I`m alright again. But I had a breakthrough with Montoya! He was complaining about contacts and saying Tirùa didn`t deserve missionaries and a chapel. And I realized something. He was nervous about his calling as a branch president. It was out of accord with what he was saying, but it just popped into my mind. I mentioned it, and the poor guy started crying. I comforted him for a bit, and we went out to work. He started complaining more and I smiled. I suddenly understood him. Sure, he voiced some of the same arguments that had fluttered through my thoughts at one time or another, but the more he complained, the happier I got. In him, I saw what I would have become if I had fallen into those feelings of weakness and loathing--and I saw what I wasn`t, what I had chosen not to do. I felt Heavenly Father`s love in my heart and I knew I had done right by him. I also found out that Cesar, on of my converts, is passing the Sacrament now. Because of my insight to Elder Montoya, I found a peace. Where ideas had come about requesting a new comp and not doing it becuase I thought this would be a test for me. But I see now that MOntoya needs me in this difficult tim efor him. I also learned that people see me differently that I see myself. I gained an amount of MOntoya`s respect and when I told him to stop, he did. Likewise, while Maybelline sees me as a friend sometimes, if I say something abou the Gospel, it becomes law. With those kinds of reactions, I can start to have the confidence they see me have. It`s a surreal experience.

Sunday: Today, I fasted for Maybelline, and that she would have a desire to be baptized. I think it was thanks to that, that we had a really powerful testimony meeting, which is saying something considering it was us two and the Olivares parents talking and no one else. Hna. Olivares was rally powerful as she talked about everlasting happiness. How is that possible if bad things don`t happen after death? Our suffering for a small amount in this life is to create the memory and experience of sorrow so that we can compare our perpetual happiness to it. More suffering won`t be necessary. After lunch, we got a hold of Maybelline with Hna. Olivares and talked. We did find out that she had been a little weirded out by the lessons at first, but is now comfortable. She said she wanted to be baptized (answer to fast) but not now. I`m a nonconventional Elder, not very solemn. But I think jmy way of teaching made her more willing to trust. I just can`t help but be amazed that I came to little Tirùa the same time that she came for vacations. Also, Felipe wants to get baptized, too. He`s such a funny kid. He shakes my hand really strong while watching his little arm flex. But he`s smart and sensitive and I think I made an impact on the little guy. He wrote me a goodbye letter (`cause he goes home tomorrow) and told me that he`d never forget me. We`d talk about nerdy stuff, and he`d help me give pokemon advice to lehi as he played his game (don`t ask). I am like his big brother. I like feeling loved again.

Monday: I woke up today to have Elder MOntoya tell me that I snore horribly--something I didn`t do before the mission. We went to lunch and spoke with Maybelline about prophets. Hna. Olivares came over and asked what Maybelline thought of the blessings of the Gospel. She said that they were really obvious when she had first arrived. Jason had walked right up to her and gave her a hug. She said that kind of thing doesn`t happen in her home. Her dad smells like cigarette and alcohol when I`m near him. I though of my family and how loving tehy are. Heck, all of the families back home are like that. Chile is a place of noncommitment and enjoying the moment. People don`t get married. They live together until they get bored of each other, then move onto the next one and the next one, forever. Never a sense of fulfillment--of completion. Why WOULD that feel right: making a permanent decision. If we`re to progress and change, that inconsistancy would be necessary. But our Spirit`s either have the inate desire to complete that commandoment or something else I don`t even know. But to have an Eternal companion just feels...right. To feel accepted, to have a witness to your life, someone to hold, someone to give advice and counsel. hmmmmm...who do these things describe? Anyway, we went to the beach today. We found, like, five dead penguins! But my camera battereies died so I dind`t get any pics. We had a lot of appointments fall through, so we did contacts. Elder Montoya`s depressed, but I`m doing okay.


Thursday: Today was freaking amazing! Today, we started with an awesome companionship study about baptism, practicing teaching each other. That helped me a lot. Then we spent our weekly planning time to work on our Sunday School Classes. The cool parts came after lunch. We wanted to watch "The Testaments" with Maybelline so she could grasp a little bit of the importance of the Book of Mormon. Everything was going great until the DVD froze near the end. She didn`t get to see the best part! She didn`t get to cry and have a beautiful moment. Elder Orellana and I looked at each other, and then he proposed that we read the ending in the Book of Mormon. We got scared when she skipped her turn and didn`t want to read, but she let us, and I got to put a baptisimal date with her for the 12th of February. I liked how eager she was to accept. She looked happy. We later met up with Josè Luis at the Church. We got to know him better. Turns out that he sells cheeses. I find that very classy. We taught him about the Plan of Salvation and where his mom is now. We answered a lot of questions he had about the Church by way of teaching the Restoration, too. I got to invite him to the waters of baptism too. Februrary 19th! I called President Swenson to tell him the good news. He had specifically asked me abou Maybelline yesterday, at the conference. After the lesson, Luis made us sopaipillas. Such a blast! (With two new people at church, the weekly attendance will go up 14%)

Friday: I`m bone-tired tonight. I walked a lot during the day, but I`ll get to that later. First part of the day was spent studying. I used my "missionary`s little book of answers" that I got for my B-day last year, and translated to my comp for 4 hours. We got a TON of good stuff out of it. While we were studying, I was wrapped up in my snuggie and we were both eating leftover sopaipillas with mustard. The food tasted exactly like Jamba`s parmesan pretzel`s with mustard. It was a rather nostalgiac experience. We weren`t able to teach maybelline as we spent time together. Hna. Olivares wanted some special black rocks from the beach to be brought up. So we went down with all the kids and the local cousins. I brought a sign that said "Australia----->" pointing to the ocean. But when we got there, my batteries died in my camera. Lame! But Elder Orellana got some good ics, and will pass them to me. I had a really fun itm ejumping around the giant boulders, but it was very tiring. I was awed by the ocean. I wanted to swim, but I didn`t want to swim. But I sat down and listened to the waves. I had heard electronic copies, and I loved the differences the real thing had. I said a quiet prayer of thanks to Heavenly Father, thanking him for the beauty of the ocean. Then we came back and had a big stack of french Fries.

Saturday: Today was a pretty good day. Last night, Jassay and Maybelline pulled a prank on us. They said, "Play ping pong, we want to see how good you play." Then, while we played, their cousin, Diego went in our room (we were already in the chapel) and put rocks in my sheets and took some of the mattress-supporting boards out. We caught it before someone was hurt, but after everyone had left. But oh-ho! Our revenge was sweet! We called their mom and explained that I had been hurt and my nose was bleeding and we were deciding to go to the hospital. Then we told her we were actually okay and to lie about that and tell the kids our first story. Then, for lunch, I word a white strip of medical cloth on my nose. The looks on the girls faces! PRICELESS! Jassay had her mouth covered with wide eyes but still tried to act normal. They were mortified when Elder Orellana suddenly "punched" me in my "wounded" nose. But I took off the bandage and we had a good laugh. We taught Maybelline the Word of Wisdom and the law of Chastity. It went really well. It was kind of awkward to talk to a 15 year-old girl about sexual relations. But she was totally cool with everything. I told her that we look at marriage as something to last through the eternities. That her husband can love her forever and that she`ll always be his princess/Queen. I think I saw her sit up a little straighter after that. I`m glad. We also heard our investigator, Luis, is gay. We`re not sure, but it would suck if it was true. We`ll teach HIM chastity next. :) We wrote the family, `cause we didn`t last monday. Alan and I are still best friends. My new comp. will be Elder Montoya from Spain.

Sunday: I`m pretty sure showers hate me. Everywhere. It just happens. It`s Summer now, and today the gas froze while I was doing business. When I asked my comp to boil some water on the electric boiler to pour on and thaw the gas tank. Just then, the electricity went out. Sentient malevolence is all I have to say. I had a talk all prepared about prophets, but the folks in Cañete sent down backup: two speakers, so I got a break while Orellana said bye. The coolest part of the day was when we taught Josè Luis. turns out he`s been wanting to find the true word of God. One that can`t be argued with or misinterpreted. He doesn`t get paid until Tuesday and didn`t have any food at home. When we started talking about the Book of Mormon, he got really excited. He pulled out the equivelant of 27 cents, and said, "This is al I have. How much does that book cost?" I put a trembling hand on his shoulder and told him with a smile, "This is God`s gift to the world. Treasure it." I also gave him some Ramen noodles for good measure. I really hope he`s not as gay as his purse makes him look. I didn`t ask about it yet. We spent the afternoon saying goodbyes to people for Elder Orellana. I really think Maybelline is feeling more comfortable in Church, and with the members. We had fun playing games and eating tonight: specifically empanadas, cheetos, keke, and shortbread w/avocado. (No Way is a swear word here.)

Monday: I`m feeling pretty good right now. Tomorrow we have our tranfers. I`m not too nervous about it. I am a bit apprehensive to introduce Elder Montoya to Tirùa. He`ll ...actually I don`t know how he`ll react. But I don`t really have a lot to show for 6 weeks there. But it`s not for lack of trying. Actually, Elder Montoya called us this morning so he could get an idea for what to expect. He sounded pretty funny. I think we`ll get along well. He just completed a year in the mission, I believe. Rosendo came over this morning, to say goodbye to Older Orellana. He looks like a tough punk, but he`s a sweetheart on the inside. We got some money to travel to Cañete, so we won`t have to leave from Tirùa at an obscene hour. We arrived and went with Elders Herrera and Gatica. It`s funny, because Herrera was in Quirihue when I got to Chile and Gatica is going there, to quirihue, to replace Elder Lisonbee. Crazy! We went to write the family for this week. Not surprisingly, I hadn`t received any messages since the last time. But I still had to send THEM my update. Unfortunately, I remembered this fact only after we realized I had lft my journal at the Elders` house. I did try sending some pictures and even a sattelite photo of Tirùa, so they could see what my sector looks like. We spent the evening tailing the Cañete Elders as they said goodbye. I didn`t complain, and neither did my stomach.


Monday: Last night, Elder Orellana wanted to "meet up" with a friend from the village of Gorbea who happened to be passing through Temuco. What i didn´t know was that Orellana had invited the dude over for a sleepover. Oorellana got the couch, and the guy (I don´t know his name) called the only spare mattress. then they both looked at me and asked, "But where are you going to sleep?" I generously offered to sleep on the floor. Oh! Before we got going yesterday, but after we got on the bus to Temuco, I relized I had left my nametag in the house. Hna. Olivares was there "doing our laundry." Well, we found her, in our room, looking at my passport with our investigator. Creepy! and Illegal! We had an awesome birthday lunch with the Millahual family. The barbequed meat was really hard and chewy. I had to force myself to eat the cartilage-y parts. But it was sooo yummy. I bought some shirts today with my extra money. A green (electric/easter green) and a red polo. On the bus ride home, we met a man that´s 25 years-old and his mom died 2 weeks ago. It was so cool to be able to talk with him and ask him some questions. I think he´s another blessing that´s directly related to the lesson I learned the other night. I learned a while ago that we need to opush ourselves to the edge so that Christ can help us grow. I´ve been pushed for a while, and I finally got it! The mission is one of the hardest things I´ve ever done, but it´s the most worth it. I´m grateful for this opportunity to change, grow, and help.

Tuesday: It is interesting to me that the times when I am most tired are the days when I don´t do anything. Actually, we got a lot of good work done. We spent the morning cleaning the Olivares´ garage. Part of me felt like we were being abused, but it´s service, so who cares? We did end up rearranging all her firewood to the new space of emptiness. We clenaed up and came back for lunch. After which, we got to teach Maybelline the Restoration. It was a very special lesson, I think. She´s my first investigator that´s young enough to have escaped being brainwahsed by other religions for a long period of time, yet mature enough to have her own ideas and answers. I asked her how she felt during her prayer that we had committed her to, during our last visit. She said it was like talking to an old friend. I promise she didn´t learn that from any of the "hallelujah" preachers down here. When we taught the first vision, her face flushed, and she almost cried. I didn´t catch it, ´cause we should look at our comps, who happened to be talking at this point. I guess he acted appropriately. We traveled 5 hours to concepción for a conference. I thought a lot. It was my first time on a freeway since I went to the airport in Utah. It was great! I also found out that "multitudinous" is a word.

Wednesday: Today was a day full of experiences, something I haven´t had in a while. And I´m not just saying that because I saw a man with three ears, wlthough taht WAS an exciting experience. Today we got to meet with a Seventy of the Church: Carlos Amado. After a brief prepared message, he spent 3 hours answering any questions we had. there were some I wanted to ask, But not in front of others. I eneded up asking "how can we grow our faith or learn to trust God more?" Because there are things that I have to wait for, and that trust will calm my anxiety. He said that when we act, we´re progressing. He explained the seed analogy, but said it all starts with the desire. That´s it! but the coolest part was when he went on a random tangent about marriage, which was kind of th eother thing I was too nervous to ask about, or even know what to ask. He said that it´s one of the most important decisions of our live. It has to be made by faith, not knowledge, because we´ve never done it before. He won´t tell us the answer, but he´ll prepare us to know how when the time comes. We rode in a bus for 5 hours again. On the way home, I sat by a pretty girl my age. It was late and she was sleepy, and she actually fell asleep on my shoulder! the last time that happened with someone, I had wanted to wrap my arm around them and snuggle. Oddly enough, I did this time, too. but it was different because I wasn´t "me" this time. I had a choice to make. So I kindly woke the girl up and had her sit up. I felt like I had passed a test of some kind. I had breached a wall that I wasn´t able to, before.