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

Monday, June 20, 2011


Monday: Today was a really good pday. It started out really cold and I
got to stay in my blessedly-warm bed. It was awesome. I eventually got
up and wrote my response to Alan`s letter that I got last week. I love
him so much. Then we went to othe Office, where I totally hit the
jackpot. I got 3 letters, One from Cassie (friend), Estèe, and Meagan!
Amazing! Daddy got a bunch of fruits and vegetables for the garden,
Cassie (sister) is going to Lindsay`s for the Summer, and Dein`s going
on a trek. He doesn`t want to. My comp. and I talked about the
Atonement and spiritual experiences. We would turn to each other and
be like, "Do you feel that?" And we could both feel the Spirit`s
presence. That`s one of my favorite things of the Mission: being able
to feel that quiet happiness inside. I really is a sacred joy that God
gives us. We had FHE with the Soliz family tonight. I love them a lot,
too. I did my "you can call me george" face last week, and all the
kids were doing it when I came in tonight. haha.

Tuesday: today we had some capacitations from our leaders. But it`s
the last one, so it was bigger than normal and the entire upper half
of the mission got to come. It. Was. AWESOME!!! I got to see two
people that made me really happy: Elders Lisonbee and Mcconnell. I saw
Lisonbee and we both stopped and did that one smile that we always
did. Then we hugged...it was manly, and stuff. The Assisstants trained
us how to get into houses easier before sending us out to practice in
the Villa Acero chapel, with different comps. I went with Isaac Demke.
He`s from Kansas City and I`ve known him since I was in Lican Ray. We
did good work. When Pres. Swenson spoke, he just told stories of good
work that missionaries have done to help with Permanaced. It`s a
program that is used to reactivate lost members. It started two years
ago. In that time 10,000 members have been re-activated! He
specifically told of Elder Barajas. He had been traveling from the
NOrth of the mission to the South, and stopped in the middle to say hi
to an inactive Sister for 15 min. She had written Pres. Swenson about
this kind act and I felt a fierce pride for Elder Barajas. We did some
contacts in our sector with no luck. Everyone`s in bed or drunk by

Wednesday: today was a pretty good day. But this morning I got mad for
the second time in only 3 months. I felt so awful for it afterward.
Anger is a weakness. I wasn`t furious, or anything. I was last out of
the shower and was getting ready while everyone told me to hurry up. I
was already going as fast as possible and I told them I knew a bus
route that would take us faster than the normal one. But as they
continued jeering me, I snapped out a sharp retorn. I think that the
greatest failure that I can do for myself is get angry. My goal is to
never get angry if I can help it--which is always. We discussed our
investigators at the Distrizona and decided we`re going to do
divisions tomorrow. Elder Demke will come here while I go to Centinela
to be with Elder Corliss. We had lunch with Hna. Vania and Hno.
Roberto. He showed us keepings from his mission. the sheer amount made
me feel like a bad pack rat. I don`t think I`ve collected many things.
He had a huge board game of the Plan of Salvation that he made. Hna.
Teresa found ou that her daughter, Lisette, who`s in the mission, has
leg cancer. she was in tears. We read in the Scriptures with her. I
hope she feels better. We taught Jessica from 3 Nephi 11. She said,
"Looks like I have to be baptized." When I invited her to be baptized,
she said that she wanted to be baptized but wanted it to come from
herself...which makes no sense whatsoever. Hna. Maritza knitted me a
tie. That was awesome. It`s lime green.

Thursday: I`m tired right now. And a little sick in the stomach. But
not too badly. Elder Calaway and I romped around in a wrestling match
for our exercise. He cheated and bit my shoulder. I threw a water
bottle at him. Then we had bread with some cow-in-a-blender meat
called "patè." yum! We planned for the week, too. We got some good
ideas on how to help some of our investigators progress in the Gospel.
I think that once we put these into practice, we`ll see them start to
complete their comittments. We finished up and went to do divisions in
Centinela. I went to be with Elder Corliss. We worked for a while
before we had to return to the apartment to get a movie to share with
the investigators. We found Elder Cortes and his hijo there, with a
problem. Elder DeGracie had left a few weeks ago, but had called their
investigator who WAS going to be baptized this Saturday to tell her
he`d be able to baptize her next Sunday. He destroyed her baptisimal
date and hep ll have to do it after church, so she`ll have to wait a
week to get the Holy Ghost. I don`t know what to do if she sinned. We
taught a family. they were really interested in Eternal families and
baptisms for the dead. They wanted to go to the temple, too. But
they`re all hesitant to take the first, little, easy step of baptism.
Aargh! We watched, "Together Forever" with them. they loved it.
They`re going to read D&C 132 as a family and pray about it.

Friday: Today went really well for us. It was strange being with Elder
Corliss. He would always say, "Of course!" after I told him a fact of
who I am, as if he already knew the answer because he knew me 11 years
ago. That`s not true. I`ve changed from that person. I`m different. We
switched our companions back. Elder Demke and Elder Calaway had found
and taught Denisse and Josè, the old guy...err. Gentleman. Denisse
already kenw the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity. And Josè said
he`d come to churchh on Sunday. That was excellent news. Elder Calaway
was on the bed (top bunk) with Elder Montalbàn when Elder Chavez
jumped on too. He didn`t land softly and bent the angle iron a LOT!
But we found a spare to replace it. We go tinto 3 houses today. I have
discovered a way to do it better and we`re gong to help people that
way. While we were walking around, Mirta ran into us. She was a
completely different person. She spoke in a confident, happy voice and
laughed a lot as we talked. You can just SEE the difference the gift
of the Holy Ghost makes in people. My comp`s been feeling down on his
excitement lately. I wish I knew what I could do, to help. My best
advice is that everything not only happens for a readon, but for our
good. I went through my whole transfer with Elder Bernal, teaching no
one. But I learned from it and the lord has given us people to teach.
That`s not a coincidence. That`s a blessing.

Saturday: It rained all through the night,. We woke up to noisy
pitter-patter on our tin roof in our warm blankets. I have 5 wool ones
on my bed. It`s amazing. We had a really interesting talk during
lunch. We spoke with Hno. Roberto Rojas Arroyo about some really deep
doctrine. He always does. The important part was when he talked about
our mission and life. He said everything we learn in the mission is to
be applied after. We pray for investigatorsnow? We`ll pray for those
under our authority in our future callings. EVERYTHING. APPLIES. We`ll
improve every day in the mission. And finally, in our last transfer,
if that, we will learn how to be the missionary god needs. We are the
army of the weak. The apostles can be very good missionaries. They
mission removes OUR weaknesses. Every piece of life prepares us for
something. the mission prepares us for marriage. He said his progress
didn`t start until he was married. I feel sorry for the worthy man who
doesn`t take the privelage of helping others while still taking this
NECESSARY step of life. I really thing it`s as NATURAL as going to
college, even if it isn`t ORDINARY. It is essencial and should not be
discarded as something to do "just because." There is ALWAYS a
reason. that is the beauty of the True and Restored Gospel. This talk
really helped my comp. feel better.

Sunday:As we were walking to church, I told my comp. that we would
make it on time if I set the pace and he kept up with me, walking
around the rain puddles where I did. right after I said that, I
realized hat it was an excellent analogy for the Gospel of Jesus
Christ. He knows how to get back to Heavenly FAther`s presence and
Eternal life, and left us instructions in the form of his teachings. I
thought it was cool. Hna. Soledad gave a cool talk in Sacrament
Meeting. She told of all the things she sells in her little business
and the profit she makes. She has one neighbor that always buys with
change. When counted in total, her (Pennies) equaled about $200 just
from selling raw eggs. She spoke about potential. She went on about
something else, but I had the impression come to my mind that those
pennies could be representing our spiritual experiences. They may be
small on their own, but they have the potential, when given proper
attention, to make a strong testimony. Neat! Mirta says she has a
friend she`s been talking with, that wants to get to know the Church.
That`s another answer to prayers, because after Denisse gets baptized
we won`t have many people to teach. We had a devotional with Pres.
Swenson and investigators. none of ours could go, and I would rather
have worked, but the assisstants shanghai`d us. Pres. and Hna. swenson
leave in 1 1/2 weeks. I`m anxious to see what the new mission pres. is
like. Pres. Martinez is Chilean and actually lives in the mission

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Monday: We woke up this morning to a phone call from Elder Calaway`s
convert, who had traveled from 9 PM to 4 AM. He was like, "What time
do you guys want to meet up? I`m just chillin` here, at the terminal."
We went and he had just wandered around Concepciòn for 5 hours,
waiting for us to wake up and get ready. We met up and he and Elder
Calaway started talking up a storm. I got a letter from Alan. It made
me really happy, and I waslaughing so hard at the end. I miss him and
our inside jokes. Mom wrote me and said that her birth dad had called
her and they had talked. She was happy. The family went to Lagoon and
got rear-ended in the trailer. They`ll get some money from the
insurance. We had Elder Hickmans goodbye FHE with the Soliz family. He
wasn`t too emotional about it. Elder Chavez and Elder Wilde are
sleeping in our house tonight.

Tuesday: Today went pretty well for us. Today was the end of our
transfer. 9 out of 16 done! But because neither my comp. or myself are
leaving, went on as we would any other day. Actually, we did a major
overhaul on the house. We fixed the top bunk so that the boards
wouldn`t fall, before we moved the bed itself and we waged mortal
combat against all filth in th eapartment. The reward was a clean
house and the feeling that we should have done it sooner. Elder
Montalbàn`s new comp. is Elder Chavez. He`s a really cool guy. I was
really troubled on the inside, today. Various people have given me
advice that I need to change and I just feel like I was already doing
that, and doing a pretty good job at it. But now I just feel doubtful.
I hate that feeling, because I just feel like they`re looking down on
me and that I`m not good enough. We taught Jessica the book of Mormon.
We had given her the Introduction as homework, and she had read it
several times without understanding it. But she was receptive as we
went through it together. We answered a lot of her questions, and the
best part was when she said, "When you talk, you just seem so...sure
in what you say." I backed up my comp`s. testimony with my own, and
she said she`d read 3 Nephi 11. then we helped Hna. Teresa at her
house. She misses her daughter that`s on the mission. P.S. I got a new
pillow, because I didn`t like the lumpy mission one.

Wednesday:Today started out pretty bad. I woke up from a nightmare
where I`d given up on the mission early and had gone home. But I hid
from everyone and worked in the airport. Then I realized it was a
dream and that the lie I had told dind`t make sense. Then everyone in
my dream found out I had lied, and cheated. I woke up with a feeling
of regret and self-loathing, because there`s a big part of me that
DOES want to go home. those lies and deceit are all in me, in some
small measure! I just felt horrible on the way to Distrizona. But we
reviewed all the people we have and our goal for Sanctification Week
changed from 200 contacts to 25 houses entered. WEpve had problems
with that. but when I heard that, I got my soul lit on fire. I was
pumped and ready to go. I felt like we could do it, and that we were
toing to do it. In the streets, my comp. noticed it and told me to
keep it up. We taught Denisse for the first time today. She`s Hna.
Vania`s neice who`s 9 years-old. She understood the Restoration and
accepted a baptisimal date for the 25th of this month. We entered in 3
more houses and taught in the streets, too. One man had his son die
two weeks ago from stomach cancer. He was busy, but we gave him a
pamphlet of the Plan of Salvation and entered to offer a blessing on
his home an dfamily. We did good work and I feel great!

Thursday: We got up this morning and, for our exercises, did some jump
rope. Unfortunately, my comp. and I had shin cramps for the rest of
the day. In Helaman, I read about Samuel the Lamanite, and how he said
that man is worse than the dirt of the EArth. I wondered how that
could be, if we have spirits of God`s children, and dwell in Holy
tabernacles of flesh. But he said that the dirt, and the oceans, and
the mountains, and the clouds, all obey the voice of the Lord. But man
is opposite to God, and disobeys and needs to repent. AND WE CAN!!! We
had lunch with Hna. Soledad and she made us chaparritas. They`re like
home-made corn dogs, but with cheese and tomato on the inside, in
addition to the hot dog. I was pretty dang excited to go out and work
again. WE went out to talk with people, without a lot of success. But
we didn`t get down. Some people let us in, to bless their home. They
were pretty hard-hearted and we felt rushed the whole time. We tried
to talk to Elìas, but he was high from smoking marijuana. Never
expected to hear that excuse ont the mission. We read in the Book of
Mormon with Maca, trying to help her come to Christ. I hate seeing so
much pain. But I`ve really gotten used to it now. I looked around
myself while we were in the "Emergency" neighborhood, with all the
gangsters and drug addicts, and I thought "My siblings would be scared
if they were here." I would have been too, before the mission. I`ve
changed in that way.

Friday: I woke up and my eyelids were just so heavy. I had woken up
early, so I laid in my warm, delicious bed as I listened to the rain
pitter-patter on our tin roof. Elder Calaway ran with Elder Chavez
while I did sit-ups and worked with a dumbell. I finished Helaman and
the proophecies of Samuel the Lamanite. We went around, trying to talk
to people. My fire`s starting to dwindle as people are refusing to let
us in. While we were with the Sister for lunch, her son, who`s our
age, told us about a bunch of video games that had come out. I didn`t
get homesick...I mean it...don`t look at me like that. But it did make
me happy. :) We taught Denisse in the afternoon. She learned abou the
"gospel of Jesus Christ" and the steps of repentance. She`s such a
good little girl. We talked about being in the Kingdom of God with our
families and she said, "Oooh! I want that. It would be so nice!" She
said she`d prayed about the church with Hna. Vania, and that she`d
gotten her answer. When she said the closing prayer, she got choked up
as she aske dthat her fmaily could go to church together. She REALLY
watts to be baptized. We talked with Elìas after, telling him not to
smoke weed *snicker* anymore, and taught him about tithing. We said he
can get baptized after he gets married. He`s excited, too.

Saturday: I`m so exhausted right now, I seriously feel sick from it.
But, I`ve gotten such a testimony about how good is is to keep a
journal, and I haven`t missed a day my whole mission, why start now?
We all missed the alarm clock and slept in `til 7:30, cutting down on
our study time. But we still got `er done! we got into 2 houses before
we had lunch. I really liked the ajì that they served us there. While
eating, we watched a video summary of the Church`s activities during
the 2002 Winter Olympics in SLC. I miss Pres. HInckley. He was a great
and powerful teacher. My trunky thought today, was playing with Devin
when I get back. Mauricio Novoa, our Ward Mission Leader, got his
mission to the Kali, Columbi mission. We`re excited for him! I
remember, right before my mission, when everyone was saying, "We don`t
want you here. Get out there!" It was hard to hear, because I wanted
to be loved. I think I was selfish and lazy before the mission. It`s
easy to just be a memeber. Having a different perspective changes
things. Benjamin Silva left with us today. We got in a house with a
drunk, and the rest of our contacts were refusals. He said that it
must be tough to do it EVERY day. He wants to help more. I thought of
doing it before the mission, and only for a few hours. I would
probably have been counting down until the end. Doing it every day
makes it easier somehow. There is nothing better that I could be doing
right now.

Sunday: After this morning, it was a pretty slow day. We got out of
the house and went to pick up Elìas and Abraham. They didn`t answer
their phone...or their door...or when we threw rocks on their roof and
windows. They were just really tired. Yeeeeaaaahh...that`s it. We went
to pick up Mirta, and her dad came out. Uh-oh. But we saw a spark of
hope. He said that she had been behaving badly and he wants us to talk
to her about it. Well. That was unexpected. Instead of his original
argument, "She`s being bad, it`s your fault." It became, "She`s being
bad, can you help her for me?" See that? That`s what we missionaries
call "The Spirit." As we left church, Mirta came out of class with a
copy of the carpool chedule for 5AM seminary, every day. She had also
been told she could go with the WArd, to the Temple at the end of the
month! WHAT?! That`s crazy business! My comp. told me a story to help
me understand why we we should do things for the right reason instead
of just doing it. An inactive member was trying to come to Christ. His
Seminary teacher told them to read the Scriptures for 15 min. daily.
HIs friends, trying to impede him, hid his Scriptures one day. So he
wrote a Scripture passage he knew:"Jesus wept," and read it for 15
min. At the end, he, himself, was weeping because of the Spirit`s
presence. I know that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ,
restored to the Earth through a modern prophet and that the Heavens
are opened again. What a good message I have!


Monday: Today was a god day. We got up and I wrote a response to Anna.
She had told me to summarize the last year of my life. That wasn`t
going to happen. but I did an adequate job of informing her. For our
activity for the day, we went to the mall and played with the ipad 2.
It was amazing! It was fast and sensitive and had a camera. I`ll leave
it at that. Then we went to write the family. They hadn`t written me.
Elders Hickman and Montalban made about 150 alfajores by hand. They
were crazy! They gave me one, but they had mixed ajì with the
chocolate. Yuck! We went out to teach one of our contacts from
yesterday, but he wasn`t home. My comp. and I reviewed what we had
observed from the Assisstants, and put it in practice. We went to the
Soliz Family for FHE. They made a Chilean pizza with cheese, fried
dough, tomato, meat, and ,what every chilean pizza needs, corn.
Christian let my comp. drive his truck home. He was twitterpated.

Tuesday: Today had its ups and downs. But it ended on an up, so that`s
good. We had our Distrizona and our leader, Elder Cortes, told us that
his best friend had been stabbed to death, back home. He cried a
little as he reminded us why it`s so important to help people find the
Gospel. We had an awesome tie trade as a zone, afterward. I saw an
Elder making up his own music on the piano and thorugh, "What a talent
he has." I thought of all my talents. A lot of them are not very
developed, but nothing to sneeze an either. but what am I REALLY good
at? Knowledge. My comp. makes fun (not in a mean way) for all the
random facts I tell him. I`m really good at memorizing and learning.
In my Patriarchal Blessing it says that I will use the time that
others waste, to study. I think it`s because of my ability to retain
knowledge. including my vocab. In the evening, we spoke with MIrta`s
dad finally. He`s not going to let her get baptized because she`s been
behaving badly since she started linstening to us. We tried to explain
to him that we teach the opposite, but he turned aroudn in
mid-sentence and went inside. My comp. was angry. He`s a sensitive
guy. Mirta came out and we told her she needed to behave well if she
wanted to truly repent. She probably won`t get baptized this week. We
gave Hna. Marìa a blessing of comfort. Her best friend died on Sunday.
We read Scriptures and I just felt such love for her.

Wednesday: Today went really really well for us. We dropped off our
clothes and then went to get our hair cut. After that, we went to do
contacts before lunch. All of a sudden, my comp. said we should turn
down a street. We did, and we got into the third house. The
Assisstants have challenged us to challenge at least one person to
baptism, before lunch, every day. We met Leo (a girl) and challenged
her to be prepared for baptism like Jesus`. She said that she`d never
thought about it before. We walked past a bunch of school kids and my
comp said, "Get ready for the `hellos". Then we heard a kid say,
"hello" in English. So dumb. WE taught Josè, a contact from a few
weeks ago. He let us in and we taught him the Restoration. He`ll pray
about our message. Then we taught Elìas the Law of Chastity. but first
we checked up on his Word of Wisdom progress. He said he was fine, but
his son, Abraham, said he`d drunk some alcohol. We talked to him and
helped. He accepted the Law of Chastity and Eternal families. He will
get married! While we were in the gangster aread, some guys tried to
offer us marijuana. I don`t know what we did differently, but the
people let us into their homes. I love the work! There was a 6.1
earthquake today. Sweet!

Thursday: I saw the biggest miracle of my mission today. When we gave
our numbers to our District Leader, I tol dhim we had a baptisimal
date for mIrta for Saturday, but I didn`t really hope for it. We`ve
fought so hard for so long. I, personally, have been waging a mental
war with myself every day, trying to keep going, and getting weaker
every time. I`ve felt like a worked muscle that bulges against the
strained skin of the surface. I`ve been close to breaking for a while.
It`s been hard and it hurts. My comp. told me that that`s when Christ
comes in and saves us. I just gave him a half-heared smile. We passed
my Mirta early in the afternoon and talked with her. We told her that
if she wanted to get baptized this Saturday she`d need an intervew
tomorow, and our Leader would need to know in advance, or rather,
tonight. She told us she would try her best to get her Father`s
permission before the end of the night. We left it to her, and said
we`d call at 9:30. We did contacts and had an FHE with Melissa and
Maca. After my class, Maca said she`d go to church on Sunday, after 7
years! When we left, we called Mirta, to see how it went. She said it
went "fine." I ws confused and asked if she had permission and she
said, "YES!" yES, YES, YES, YES!!!! She`s gonna get baptized! But she
didn`t have the permission slip, so we went over and made one by hand.
As I was writing, a drunk guy started loitering and mumbling to
himself. When I finished, there were two. I gave the permission slip
to Mirta as one drunk said, "**** your mom." I told him to wash his
mouth because we don`t say things like that in front of a lady. Then
he shoved me, hard. That`s when I realized he wasn`t the funny kind of
drunk. He was the angry kind. He started swearing and kicked me. I
told mirta to get the slip signed and bring it right back. The other
drunk picked up a 5 ft. branch that lay nearby and tehy both followed
me. The first one kicked me in the shin and the inner thigh and the
branch got my upper arm before I noticed a car pull up and 5 gangsters
got out. I got scared. But they were Mirta`s cousins and helped us to
safety while fending off the baddies. Mirta came out and apologized
for her cousin`s father-in-law, who was the drunk. She escorted us to
safety (for which, I just felt silly). When we were alone. I started
weeping. I was unable to speak for a time. I was just so happy that
Heavenly father saw fit to bless Mirta htis way. And the Lord caught
me before I broke. I was weak. My comp. seemed to always KNOW that
she`d get baptized. I need to be more hopeful like him. We fought (and
got beaten up) for this baptism. I don`t know what to think other that
grattitude. After Mirta told her DAd she wanted to get baptized, she
said he was quiet for a while. I`m sure the Spirit worked there,
before he eventually said, "yes."

Friday: Today was a good day. we got all of our stuff ready for our
divisions we would have later. Elder Hickman got me in a bear hug and
grasped my wrists. Elder Calaway got my ankles, and they tossed me on
my bed like a pair of dirty socks. But they had taken all the boards
out and I fell through. I put mustard and ajì in Elder Calaway and
Elder Hickman`s toothpaste. Bwahahaha! We had lunch and then went to
centinela to start the division. elder Cortes came to Hualpencillo
with me. He`s got a bad leg with 9 stitches because of a fall he had
last week. We visited a Sister who was the daughter someone he
baptized with Argueta (they were comps) in Traiguèn. Hna. Rebecca.
She`s so cool. Then we went and taught Elìas the Sabbath Day. He
committed to stop playing Soccer on Sundays. But he`s only going to
come for an hour this week. Oh well. Little by little, I guess. Then
we went to do MIrta`s interview. I was a little nervous, because it
had been a while since we`d actually taught her. But Elder Cortes said
that she was the best interviewee he`d ever had. He said that when
asked about the SAcrament and what it meant, she said it was a way to
renew our Baptisimal covenants and show our love of Jesus Christ by
remembering his atonement. How awesome is that?! Mirta also said that
she wants me to be the one to baptize her. I feel so humbled. I`m
grateful heavenly Father has blessed me so.

Saturday: Today was so amazing! It was absolutely perfect. We went to
Centinela early, to switch our comps. back. on the way home, we picked
up a tunic for MIrta from our Zone Leaders, then our clean laundry.
Then we bought a few completos from Hna. Teresa to help her Daughter`s
mission fund. We then had our actual lunch and hurried over to the
church, to fill up the baptisimal font. While waiting for it to be
filled, we studied. I really liked reading about the Sermon on the
Mount in "Jesus the Christ." Mirta came, and said she was a little
nervous. I told her that I sing when I`m nervous. So we opened a hymn
book and sang "I am a Child of God" together. She felt better. Then
she got baptized. After everything that`s happened, she finally got
baptized. All of the YW leaders and YW were hugging her and whispering
in her ear words of encouragement. Then they sang her a son, "Daughter
of a King." she was crying a lot. You know what happens to an
investigator when the Spirit makes them cry? THEY WIN! They`ve got
their own testimony, their own witness. Then we had an after-party in
a member`s home. She was so happy. While we were there, we got our new
transfers. I`m staying here, with Elder Calaway! I was smiling and
shouting for joy and all the members were happy for me. Some of them
had already written me letters of farewell. I love this ward! I have
so much love for Mirta.

Sunday: We have fought for Mirta every step of the way. When we went
to pick her up, her dad came out and said that because she got home
later last night, she hadn`t done her chores and had to do them today.
But after explaining the Gift of the Holy Ghost he let her come for
Sacrament Meeting. There were three baby blessings and we participated
in one. During the blessing, I heard a little hiccup and felt a
*splat* on my shoe. the baby threw up on my shoe! Which was just as
well `cause I`d forgotten to polish this morning. haha. Mirta wanted
me to confirm her, but I told her to let Elder Calaway confirm her. He
did it, and I metaphorically let my shoulders sag in relief. We`ve
done everything we could and fought to the end. We worked until it was
out of our hands. I made a good analogy for being Senior comp. It`s
like when you were a kid and had to stop eating cheerios in Sacrament
Meeting and start paying attention. It becomes YOUR responability. I`m
used to it now. But I remember being so stressed at the beginning, but
it`s better. I like that quote that says, "God doesn`t call those that
are trained. He trains those that are called." That would be something
I`d share with future missionaries. Answer the call, and it is SO
worth it! Maca, the inactive member we`ve ben working with, came to
church today. We stopped by in the afternoon and it was her husband`s
birthday. We helped throw a surprise party fo rhim. Elder Montalbàn
reads in English scriptures to learn. But he would always pronounce
"yea" as "yeah." so he would say "Behold, YEAH" really loud. Hilarious

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Monday: I enjoyed my pday, today. We woke up and laid in bed for a
while, just to relax. Hey, that`s how I prepare for the week. Sleeping
for the time I couldn`t during the week. It was great. We went to
Concepciòn, and to the office. There hadn`t been any mail for me for
the third week in a row. It turn sout that Elder Calway and Kayla had
briefly lived in the same ward when he was in 6th grade. That is so
crazy that she moved all over the country, got hired at my work, and
now my companion is someone who had been one of her neighbors, and he
and I are in Chile. The world is appearing to be the size of a marble,
down here in Chile. We did contacts without much success. We had an
FHE with the Rojas family. We told jokes an dplayed games. Then Hno.
Rojas told a fabe from Bolivia. There once was a cripple. The kids in
the Elementary School called him "semicolon" because of his
footprints. They all copied him to mock him. One boy`s father called
him over, and said when he was little, they`d gone to a forest to cut
trees. ONe tree almost fell on the boy, but a man had saved him. That
cripple was the man that had saved they boy. Lesson to be learned? I
think so.

Tuesday: I was really down in the dumps today. We went to our
Distrizona meeting, and everything went really well there. As a zone,
we made a goal to bring 50 people to church. We had 56 in total! 6 of
them were ours, which was awesome. I got to teach a class on patience
to or District. When we got on our us home, I asked the driver if he
passed by a certain street. We got on, but he only passed BY the
street, instead of going on it. So we walked 3 miles to lunch.
Lamesauce. When we eventually got back to the house, we called Mirta.
She told us she and her Dad had fought, and that we couldn`t teach her
anymore...again. I was so...frustrated and depressed. I don`t know
why. So we went by at 7 to talk to him. He was already in bed. Mirta
tol dus that she had argued with her father, and that he ha actually
ht her. She broke down and started bawling outright. I felt so
helpless. I mean, as missionaries, we study almost constantly to
better help the people understand and resolve ther doubts. But then
Satan tok our choice away comletely and we can`t say ANYTHING because
we can`t even see them. I feel like a failure. But I think I`ve d one
everything I can. Mirta really has changed. Maybe she`l get baptized
when she`s older.

Wednesday: Today, we had our interviews as a Zone. It was a really
special experience for me. The Assisstants to the President gave us a
special training example to help us learn discipline. We had to hold
up our arm with 3 conditions: 1) We would never let it down 2) We
would not suppor tit with anything 3) And we would not speak unless
spoken to. My arm and shoulder were burning after a while. Then we had
to use our other arm to place our triple in that hand...then the
Bible...then ou rbackpack! This took pace over 20 min. I was convinced
I couldn`t do more, more than once. But I kept going. At the time,
people were moaning and jokng because they only remembered the first
rule. At the end, the Assisstants asked who had completed all three
rules. I was one of 3 who did. they said that these were the
disciplined ones. We earned a recording of Elder Holland`s talk in the
MTC (video). In my interview, I told Pres. I was having a hard time. I
tol dhim about Mirta. He told me (again) that God`s blessings are
GIVEN sometimes, instead of earned. He said that Alma and Amulek were
rewarded after they wanted to go home. But they repented and had faith
first. So I looked at what I could change. What I could repent of. I
know got will bless me. I feel a weight lift off my back. I will give
my heart to God.

Thursday: Today was kind of hard. We had our weekly planning and
everything, before going to our lunch with Bro. And Sis. DeAvendaños.
They`ve been active in the church for forever and they told us about
the recently sustained Seventy, David Fereira. They were his Primary
teachers in this very ward! Amazing! We hadn`t been by Hna. Marìa for
a long time, so we went back to visit. She was angry because we stayed
away for so long. She thought we`d stopped loving her. We read in the
Book of Mormon with her and she was so happy. Then we tried to tak to
Mirta`s dad. She came out with a pouty face. She said he wouldn`t ever
talk to us. She let silent tears fall and I just wanted to hug her and
tell her it would all be okay. and, by thunder, I did it! She just
needed someone to tell her all the badness would go away. That`s what
being a good missionary is about: giving hope. Her dad even peeked his
head out while we were talking, made eye contact with us and went back
inside. Coward. He lets his nephews and their friends, who are drug
addicts, into their house, but two servants of god are too much of an
unknown factor. Hmmm. Then we saw a guy get robbed of his bike and
money. We were TICKED. But we couldn`t risk the guy with the knife. I
talked my comp. down. I told him what a good missionary he was and how
much I love him. They we talked about our Dad`s. I miss mine. He
always let me know of his love, even when he was angry/disciplining. I
can`t wait to see him again.

Friday: Today was a so-so day. We got up and I got to work on writing
a letter to Mirta`s dad, begging him to reconsider letting his
daughter come closer to Heavenly Father. I taught pure doctrine, and
testified as powerfully as I know how, and tried to let him know that
we love him and his daughter so much. We dropped it off to his mother
(Mirta`s Grandma). She said she`d give it to him. I`m gonna write one
more letter for Mirta, to give her hope and to let her know we ove
her. I`ll include a picture of us. We went by Vanessa for the first
time in a week. She`s still reading in the Book of Mormon. She said a
co-worker had asked about it, and she got to explain it. But she was
busy today. We`ll pass by tomorrow. We taught Elìas the Plan of
Salvation. He understood it all. He said, "It looks like I gotta get
baptized to go to the Celestial Kingdom." But he said that he has to
go to court i June to be tried for another assault. Another one from 2
years ago. We`ll see if he CAN be baptized. He has to get married
still. We had FHE with Hna. Marìa and her 2 granddaughters, Maca and
Melissa. It was really cool, teaching them and then playing a game. We
went to a reference fro Bio Bio. But the address was bogus. I shook a
drunk guys hand and he bent down to kiss him. I took my hand politely
back. haha. We found a rich-looking young woman who had talked with
missionaries before. ut even though she liked them a lot, she din`t
get baptized. She said we won`t convince her. My comp. says, "We`ll

Saturday: Today passed by way too fast. I can`t remember much of waht
we did. We got up and did exercises. I introduced my comp to the
push-up pyramid. I`m reading in Helaman, and was just amazed by some
of the things that happened to the Nephites. It`s really clear to see
that all of these thigns happened to them because of their
disobedience and pride. When we don`t obey the commandments, we see
almost immediate ad negative results. I know that God gives
commandments to hs children to take care of them. It`s SO simple! We
did contacts in the morning, then went to lunch with Pamela She`s 18
years-old and is the only member in her family. An old lady answered
the door, then called Pamela. I asked, "Waas that your grandma?"
because she loked about 70 years od. She was like, "Who? Oh! My mom."
oops. We helped some guys cut a branch off of a tree. We asked why
they were doing it. They said they needed firewod. they wore viking
hats and carried sanwiches in their wool pockets. We taught Elìas the
Word of Wisdom. He seemed sad, but told us he was good. We`ve seen him
smoke and drink, but he told us he didn`t, but that he`ll keep the
Word of Wisdom. His son, to. He seemed like he was pretty out of it,
though. We had the monthly Ward FHE. It was a lot of fun. We`re doing
divisions with the Assisstants tomorrow. I`m really nervous because we
only have two investigators and I feel responsible for the lacking.
But it`ll be a great opportunity to learn.

Sunday: Today was pretty dang awesome, actually. We went to church
early so we could report to the Ward Council. But after that, we had
time to pick up Vanessa and Elìas. Vanessa didn`t answer and Elìas
bailed but promised he would go next Sunday. My comp. started walking
toward Mirta`s house. I reminded him that her Dad didn`t want us to go
by anymore. He just smiled and said he had a good feeling. I did too,
and we went. We knocked and waited abot 5 minutes, jus thoping and
begging Heavenly Father for help. And then Mirta came out, all ready
to go! I couldnt hardly believe it! Her father hadn`t read my letter
yet, but he had given her permission to go to church if we came by.
Good thing we did! Then we did divisions in th eafternoon. I went with
Elder Vincent. We did a bunch of contacts. It was so awesome to watch
and learn. He kept tellin gme to do things, but he`d take over anyway.
So I watched and learned how to be bolder, braver, and more efficient.
We entered into 6 houses and got return appointments for them. That`s
so ridiculous. Now I know that it`s been for my lack of ability that
we haven`t had investigators. But I can repent and change. When we got
home, Elders Hickman and Montalban were drinking...ROOT BEER!!! That`s
so legen--wait for it...and I hope you`re not lactose-intolerant
because the next word is--dary. haha. They shared a sip, and it was so
much better than coke or pepsi. AMAZING!!!


Monday: Today was a pretty good pday. We slept in for a little bit
before we got up. While Elder Calaway was taking his shower, Elder
Hickman turned the hot water off by degrees and then turned it all
back on at once. Then he went Old School and threw a bowl of cold
water in the shower. He`s a pretty big jokester, even if he hardly
ever smiles. :) But we eventually got out of the house and went to
Concepciòn. First, we went to the office to look for mail. I hadn`t
received anything, but Elder Calaway got a package containing rubber
covers for his shoes, along with gushers and fruit roll-ups. He was
humanitarian enough to share with me. :D then we wrote the family. I
had only received one letter and it was from Daddy. He said that Elder
Gonzalez`s behavior had made him angry. I felt a burning pride for
having him as a father. He told me that I make him proud. He said a
lot of things that I needed to hear, as a doubtful son missing his
DAddy. A lot of thgings that, when said together, made me cry. After
that, we had lunch. Elder Calaway had a 1 kg. (2 lbs.) sandwich. He
got really sleepy after that, and slept. We did contacts in the night.
But both of us had a case of the cramps for unknown reasons. We
completed our goal for the day, and retired to the hosue because the
pain made us so ineffective. But we`re really trying to focus on being

Tuesday: I`m so thankful for prayers, and the answers we can receive
from our loving Heavenly Father. We went to our Distrizona. The Sister
missionaries were the ones who had the baptisms that Mirta saw on
Saturday. They told us they let Mirta wear a nametag while she was
there and she told them, "You have to come to MY baptism!" During our
lunch with Hna. Marìa, I asked for less spagghetti than had been given
to my companion (something that looked like Mt. Vesuvius`s offspring),
and therefore received an amount that would satisfy a hippo rather
than an elephant. I finished, stuffed, and was about to top off with
my dessert, when Hna. Soledad (Hna. Marìa`s daughter) sent her
daughter over w/ mashed potatoes just for me (she knows they`re my
favorite). So I had to shove that down, along with my jello and ice
cream. I have gained 10 pounds in the last 3 months. yes! But it
doesn`t show at all. Lame. I had trouble standing up straight, I was
so full. We went by Mirta`s at 4:00, and she came out crying a little,
saying her dad won`t let us come by because she had come home late on
Saturday, because of the baptisms, without telling her dad (she
doesn`t have a cell). I felt the loving Spirit and told her we`d talk
to her Dad for her. I spent the next 3 hours wondering what to say,
and praying my guts out, asking for guidance on what to say to her
father. The firrst thing he did was call us liars. He said we lied
about hte hours on Saturday. Even though we din`t know about it, we
apologized and were very respectful. Basically, we got permission to
keep teaching.I told him we wanted to baptize Mirta. She told him she
wanted to get baptized to his face. He said he`d think about giving
her permission. I said we were teaching her a better way of life.
We`ll talk Thursday. We taught Mirta the Word of Wisdom and the Law of
Chastity. She`ll stop drinking Coffee because she doesn`t want to
stain her "temple." She said the closin gprayer, and asked that her
dad would give her permission!

Wednesday: We didn`t have a lot of success today, but it wasn`t
necessarily bad. I spent the morning studying "Jesus the Christ." I
lsove reading about the Savior`s ministry. I learned about Satan`s
tempting of the Redeemer. It specifically says that Christ was
tempted. A part, no matter how small, was entied by the Devil. But,
as our perfect example, he never once gave in. We couldn`t get anyone
to let us talk to them in the morning. We had fish for lunch and I
accidentally swallowed a fish bone. Ouch! NOne of the people we ha
dplanned to visit in the afternoon opened their doors. It`s a little
frustrating because we just want to help them with their exaltation!
I`ve become a different person on the mission. I look at people
differently than I used to, I have different, more focused goals, and
I have been able to say determined in the face of opposition. There is
no doubt that I grew, not because I`m simply in another country,
speaking a language, but because it`s HARD. That doesn`t mean it`s
mildly challenging, either. It means that it is a a desperate battle
between what I want and what has to be done. At times it`s something
that is close to impossible. But being able to say, "I wanted to do
the will of the Father more than mine." To keep on working in the face
of repeated failure. Emotional maturity is the ability to stick to a
job and to struggle through until it`s finished; to endure
unpleasantness, discomfort and frustration; to give more than is aske
for or required; to size up and make independent decisions, to work
under authority and to cooperate with others; and to defer to time,
other persons, and to circumstances. I`ve begun to grasp these things.

Thursday: Things didn`t exactly go liek we planned, with Mirta`s Dad.
Quite simply because we didn`t get to talk with him. I woke up to a
body slam from Elder Calaway--which is saying something, because I
sleep on the top bunk. We got everything done and started studying. I
finally got a spiritual application to the war chapters in Alma. For
me, they`ve been far and in between. At first, Moroni complains to
Pahoran, the governor or chief judge of the nephites, saying the army
needs more food and soldiers. Pahoran tells him he was usurped, and he
had to leave with some people. Moroni`s reaction is happiness because
Phoran is still his friend, and treasures the same values. Then he
comes to help his friend vanquish evil. It`s like a sinner, who`s
repenting from an addictive sin. He got pushed out of the "control
seat" in his life. God may send him a little reminder (moroni`s
letter). But when he confesses he wants to come back, God (moroni)
will be there to help. We planned our week and headed out, into the
rain. It stopped after lunch. NOt too bad this time. We did contacts
and made appts. until our appt. with Mirta and her dad. We saw him
standing 20 ft. away, on a corner when we arrived. He saw us. We
knocked on the house and Mirta came out. We went in and asked her to
call her dad. She looked out the window and said he had left! And she
din`t have a way to call him. He totally flaked on us! I was worried
and prayhing all day, trying to anticipate the coming
conversation...and he CHEATED! That`s so lame! UGH! I just wanted to
scream and yell that it wasn`t fair. (I find this ironic, because I
was talking about emotional maturity yesterday.) not cool. Oh, and
someone tried to sell us drugs today.

Friday: We saw miracles today. It was so amazing to be guided by the
spirit. It started when we got out of the apartment late by 15
minutes. The other missionaries were bugging us about it, too. We were
late because we had a really comp. study. It was lame, because we were
going to arrive late to our appointment late. But when we approached
her house,she was just barely getting back. If we had come sooner, she
wouldn`t have been home, or she would have, but would have bene
watching the clock. Her name is Vanessa. She`s living with her
boyfriend and two daughters. We taught her the Restoration and she
loved it! She understood everything, drew her own conclusions, and
committed to the Book of Mormon challenge. When we explained it, she
handled it like a treasure and hugged it to her a little. The lesson
just flowed. and after SHE said the final prayer, her mom arrived at
the very end. Talk about coincidental timing! NOT! Later, we taught
another contact that owned a lottery. He had just gotten out of jail
after 2 years for assault with a gun. Yikes! His girlfriend`s still
there, for doing drugs,. His brothers died during a robbery. But he
has a lot of faith in jesus Christ and wants to repend and be
baptized. We invited him to church, and he said he couldn`t because he
had to play soccer. He`s 31. But we taught him a little and he changed
his mind. His 10 year-old son came down the stairs and Elìas (the
investigator) told him, "We`re not gonna play soccer on Sunday. We`re
going to church! Why would we go to play soccer on the Sabbath?!" It
was so amazing! If everything goes well, we can have 7 investigators
in church! I`m so thankful for these blessing. The Lord worked through
us. I almsot taught Elìas the Restoration, but I was impressed not to
do it. so cool!

Saturday: My comp. went Tarzan on me this morning as he woke me up. I
was practically assaulted as he belly-flopped on my top bunk. He was
unstoppable. Even the boards holding up the mattress gave way and we
fell through, onto his bed. I tried to get away, but he would tackle
me, and we pretty much just romped around. It was AMAZING! We made an
effort to study our mission Scripture Mastery for the Interviews we`ll
have next week. We were going to play soccer with Bio Bio, but when we
got there, we discovered that all of the other players had slept in.
It was 11 Am. We went to pick up our laundry after that. We showered
and swung by Mirta`s, to see if we might speak with her dad. He wasn`t
there. I sent an email to Daddy, letting him know that I wasn`t able
to take moeny out of my checking account. He replied immediately, and
said he`d help. Wee! We had lunch with Hna. Rebecca. It was her
birthday. Jessica, the member who`s romming with them, made the cake.
It was delicious. We actually returned, in the evening, to celebrate
with them. The whole ward was there! Which was really a blessing
because we needed to coordinate with some of the members in order to
pick up all of the investigators for tomorrow. We talked, and planned,
and schemed on how we could do it most effectively. Then I had to call
the investigators and remind them. It was the other side of being a
missionary--I call it "phone tracting." Tomorrow`s what it all comes
down to. Woot!

Sunday: Today was really special for me. Since I`ve met Mirta, she`s
changed so much! I`m so happy that she has that desire to come unto
Christ. We learned in the MTC that if we can see changes in the
investigator (i.e. arrange flowers, looks clean, have scriptures ready
to go), it means that they`ve been changed by, or interested in, the
gospel and it`s message. When I met Mirta, she was sad, shy, and
walked in a discouraged way. When we picked her up today, she came out
as a totally different peron. Her hair was straightened and
shiny-clean, she wore a bright purple sweater with matching pumps, and
she ws grinning from ear to ear when she high-fived us. Totally.
Different. Vanessa didn`t come, along with some other investigators,
but Elìas did. He also brought his son and two friends. And Hna. Vania
brought her non-member niece. 6 in total. WOOT! "Fruits of your labor"
thy name is diligence. Our work really paid off. Actually, one cool
thing that happened, was when Mirta asked for her own "Gospel
Principles" book to study during the week. Yeah, so back to diligence.
I was talking with Elder Calaway about htis. The people who lived the
law of Moses didn`t really make their own decisions. They had
everything laid out for them in excruciating detail. After the
Atonement, and the completion of that law, the people were given more
freedom and the Holy Ghost to make righteous choices. As missionaries,
we live the lower (Mosaic) law. After the mission, or even as Senior
Missionaries, we`ll have more freedom and more opportunities to prove
what we learned. Interesting, huh?


Monday: Today was pretty cool. We got up and went straight to the
Centinela sector for our Zone activity at the beach. We went on a
really gorgeous hike through a forest. It was filled with fog, and at
one point we came across an open field and I was sure we were about to
meet Mr. Tumnus at the lampost. But we got to go to a pretty viewpoint
on a cliff and lots of rocks. I found a giant starfish! I also found
some sun pouring etween tree branches and I posed like Joseph Smith.
PWN! We were the first ones to leave, because we wanted to shower and
change before going to concepciòn and the office. When we got there, I
found letters from Anna and Tosha. I really liked Daddy`s email to me.
He said that I`ve grown up a lot and even that my sense of humor has
matured. That made me feel pretty good. We did contacts in the
afternoon. Only one lady stopped to talk with us--or should I say "to"
us. She lectured us about how her church was so cool. But my comp.
shared about the Book of Mormon. She wasn`t listening, so I helped him
out. I told her that we have a living prophet who speaks with God. She
started talking about her church. I raised my finger to silence her. I
asked, "What if we`re right?" Long story short, we have an appt. this
Saturday. We had FHE with the Soliz family. They made their best
hamburgers to celebrate my year mark.

Tuesday: I felt like poop today, and it was raining cats and dogs to
boot. We left an hour before our meeting, to meet the bus. But it
didn`t come until 20 min. before and we were late anyway. Oh! Elder
Cortes called me this morning to assign me a 20 min. class in our
District Meeting. I taught about companioship untiy and why it`s
important. It went really well, and elder Rubilar, one of the
Assisstants, sat in on it and complimented me. Then we had to do the
practice. We had to pretend that one of the Elders was Merta. We had
to find her doubt and immunize it. We did both, and put a baptisimal
date with her. After the meeting, I sent Cassie (friend) her reply and
Estèe her birthday letter. We took the wrong bus and had to take
another one to get to get to lunch. Hna. Marìa gave us mashed
potatoes, unseasoned meat and un undercooked fried egg. It was a TON
of mashed potatoes. I was so full. In fact, I was feeling positively
ill by the time we got to the apartment. I ate so much, because she
asked, "Do you want more, or didn`t you like it?" lame. In the middle
of that, I had a pain I felt come through my chest, neck, and temples
to rest behind my eyes. I thought it was a blood clot and I was going
to die. But I didn`t. Drama Queen! My stomach was as "the waves of the
sea." My comp. says I said funny things in my sleep. I talked him into
reading "Jesus the Christ." I learned so much from that book. In the
afternoon, my comp. taught Merta the Plan of Salvation with Elder
Hickman. They challenged her to baptism on the 28th. she accepted!
We`ll do our best to help her to the Celestial Kingdom.

Wednesday: All of our appts. fell through today, but we did really
good work and battled the forces of evil, and all the things
missionaries do. We got up and I was feeling much better. I started
reading "Jesus the Christ" again. I love learning about the SAvior so
much! I now have a new part of my personal study that I`m starting to
do. I read the entry from my journal from ayear ago. It`s interesting
to note the difference in how I`ve changed. I mean, I used "divine" as
a freaking VERB when I was in the MTC! What up with that? We dropped
off our clothes and an umbrella that hna. Marìa had lent me. Her
daughter, Hna. Soledad, has got to be one of my favorite people in the
mission. She just loves the missionaries. We had cazuela for lunch.
Yuck! I got 3% meat, and 97% cartilage and bone. Ugh! As I sid, all
the appts. fell through, but we had good contacts. One guy asked for a
pamphlet to give to his brother, who`s a member. He also mentioned his
mom died two weeks ago. I asked him, "Do you want to know where she
is?" He did and we`ll talk Saturday. I started playing soccer with
some kids and their dad came out, impressed by my hacky-sack moves (he
told me so). He also invited us by. Elder Calaway showed me "the
Miracle of Work." It`s a short story about a tired man who was faced
with a great work charged to him by Christ. He had to push a rock with
all his might. He did, without success of moving it. Satan attacks,
saying, "You`ve done it forever. You haven`t even moved it even a
little." He prays and confesses he hasn`t moved it at all. Christ
comes and says, "I told you to push with all your might. You`ve done
Did you really fail?" Then he points out the strong arms, legs, back,
and hands. he says, "I will move the rock for you."

Thursday: So we saw some mini miracles today. It was really special
for me. I`m pretty sure it was on of the best days I`ve had here, in
Hualpencillo. We had our weekly planning session. I went through
it,step by step, in Preach My Gospel, and felt like we did a really
good job. then we cleaned the house and I taught Elder Calaway how to
swallow air for big burps. Missionary stuff. We had lunch with Hna.
Leon. He rinactive Sister was there and we talked with her. She said
she didn`t go because of laziness, but after more talk we found out
she didn`t go because she didn`t believe in Joseph Smith and the Book
of Mormon. I bore a testimony of all the things I had learned and the
divinity of it and she was stunned. She said she`d go to church for
the first time in 20 years because of the things I taught her. We went
to the house and it was hard to leave. We were depressed. But we met
with Ivanaa, a member, to isit Merta. She made me happy. I wanted to
review the Plan of Salvation and not only did she remember and
understand, she told me I had forgotten to say a prayer. WOOT! She`s
progressing! She`s going to Seminary on Saturday. Then, as we were
walking around, a lady came up to us and asked, "What is YOUR
doctrine?" I was like, "Oh, let me tell you!" She asked what we avoid,
and how we baptize--if we do it by immersion. She said, "Tat`ll be
hard WHEN I get baptized because I get vertigo." We have an appt.
tomorrow. Then it was hard to do contacts. but we were like, "We need
one more, to meet our goals." That contact said "I can`t talk...hang
on." Then came downstairs and let us in. We taught the restoration
really well. I know, because at the end, she was like,"What if the
whole Catholic church is wrong?" She works a lot and I think I hurt
her, so we might not see her again. Elde rCalaway and I make a good

Friday (the 13th): Today was an average day. We got up and did our
exercises and got ready for the day. I`m doing the Book of Mormon
challenge and am marking every word that refers to the Savior. I`m
really excited! When we planned the day, I was delighted to find that
we had plenty of people to plan for. The time is passing so fast. It
feels like I just left Tirùa, and not long since I was in Temuco. But
it`s been almost 7 months since then! I`m almost done with my second
transfer in Hualpencillo. I feel like it`s been a challenge to find
people here, but I feel like I really larned how to be a missionary
here. Sometimes I feel discouraged, but, at the same time, I`m
learning so much about the Savior and my role in the work. But, just
because we planned for a lot of people doesn`t mean we got to teach
them. That part hasn`t changed. None of the doors opened. But we keep
saying, "I will go and do" not "I will sit and stew." Seriously, I`m
so happy that I`m in the mission! It`s the best thing in the world to
just KNOW there`s nothing better you could be doing, and seeing the
blessings come to your family. Tonight, we helped the Relief society
Pres. (Hna. Teresa) set up for their activity. No other sisters
helped. She was so happy to have us. Then, there was a dinner prepared
and we got to put bowties on and serve the Mother`s for a late
"Mother`s Day" thing. I served Hna. Teresa and she got a picture of it
because of the rarity of being SERVED instead of SERVING. All of the
Sisters were joking with me and odting on me like old friends. They
were all sad when we had to go, to keep curfew. I felt so special. I
really think I`ve become a lot more charismatic in the mission. Yet
another blessing!

Saturday: I had such a wonderful day today. you know what? I am SO
thankful for the opportunity we have to change and become true
disciples of Christ. My comp. shared a talk with me called, "The
Fourth Missionary." It talks about the four types of missionaries in
the world. The 1st doesn`t even finsih the mission. The second is
disobedient and hates being here,but he finishes. The 3rd missionary
is obedient and does great work. He works with his might and strength,
but he is impatient to go to the next sector, the next comp. and,
ultimately, to his house. He doesn`t give the Lord his heart and mind.
He`s constantly warring between what he wants and what the Lord wants.
David O. Mckay once said something like this, "The greatest battles
you will ever fight will be within the silent chambers of your heart."
The natural man will always be fighting for the rest of your life, but
you have to beat him down every time. The fourth missionary does this.
He`s not perfect. He gets discouraged. But he doesn`t give up. HE LETS
HIS ONLY DESIRE BE SERVING THE LORD. His will is swallowed up in that
of the fAther. the best part is that this change is possible for
EVERYONE and it`s immediate! We always change! Today we worked so hard
to help people. We were out, talking with everyone and I loved it! I
felt so happy! Merta called to tell us that she had gone to Seminary
with the Stake, and right after that, they got to see two baptisms.
Now she`s really excited! There are so many blessings of the Lord
here! I`ve learned how to use the members for help, and we might have
3 in the church tomorrow. I love being able to humble myself before
the Lord and let him change me. I love this Gospel!

Sunday: Today wasn`t as good as it could have been. We got up and went
to church, having delegated to several members the duty of picking up
investigators. but when we got there, Ivanaa (the member who was to
bring Merta) was there without Merta. It seems that no one answered
and her neighbor said no one was there. That was lame. Hno. Novoa came
in wth Valentina at his side. That was when I learned something very
important: she pretty much loves me. She didn`t pay any attention
whatsoever to the Sunday School lesson because she was too busy asking
us where we were from and what our favorite ccolor was and everything.
Then she started tickling us. then she started tickling the
assisstants. It was so embarrassing. Then, after the last class, and
we were saying bye to the members, Valentina came right up to me and
gave me a hug. I FREAKED. I squirmed and started pushing her away,
while simultaneosly trying to think inconspicuous thoughts that would
let me avoid the attention of the members. but we walked her home, and
told her we couldn`t give kisses on the cheeks, we couldn`t give hugs,
and we definitely couldn`t go to the theaters to watch horror movies.
We ate lunch, then we went to do contacts for the rest of the time.
Elder Calaway`s convert from Lautaro called to tell him he wasn`t
going to church anymore because they changed the Branch Pres. He just
wanted attention, and we talked him down. We did contacts until the
end of the night. we finished right before we had to get home. but we
completed with our weekly goals. We also saw some kid getting beat up
today. He was actually getting mugged! But as we looked closer, we saw
that it was the same kid that had been begging us for money a few
weeks ago. We didn`t really believe him because he had really new
shoes and would avoid questions about his home and parents and if he
would rather that we just buy him food so he didn`t waste the money on
drugs or something. But he was getting beat up for a while, but we
couldn`t help him, `cause there were about 15 other gangbangers. It
was lame.


Monday: Today was awesome! We went to the office this morning. I
totally got a letter from Cassie. 8 pages! I was smiling the whole way
through. We got back to the house at 5:30, a half-hour before the end
of Pday. I made a promise to Elder Gomez, the last transfer, that I
was only going to write letters on Pdays. So I have to wait until
Monday to write more. We did contacts and then went to the Soliz
Family. They loved Elder CAlaway just like every other missionary.
Elder Calaway got a tape ffrom his girlfriend. And that doesn`t have
to do with why I feel so sad right now. I feel so weighed down. My
District Leader calledtonight to change the subject of the class I had
already prepared for tomorrow. I feel so stressed. I just want someone
to tell me it will be alright and take the hurt away. I mean, there`s
always been a bigger bed to crawl into when the nightmares came. It`s
tough and trying to have that taken from your life. P.S. We met a
norweigean guy w/a lightning tatoo above and below his eye. It was
epic `cause he also had leather bracers.

Tuesday: So, today was lame. We got up and went to our Distrizona. I
felt so bad, the more our meeting went on. There, we discuss the
people we`re teaching with our District. Now remember, we have Elder
Gonzalez in our District. When I was writing up the names of the
people who were "almost progressing" after they had written all of
their awesome people, and Elder Gonzalez laughed at me under his
breath. I felt like I was being kicked while I was down. I wanted to
scream that it was unfair to work so hard, have nothing to show for
it,be away from my home and family and loved ones, and, on top of all
that, someone laughs at me because I don`t have people doing what they
told me they`d do. And, after staying up late last night to prepare my
class, Elder Gonzalez took my class over and lectured me on how to get
the people to let us in, by offering them pictures and talking them up
like a salesman. I`m not a salesman, I`m trying to be a good
missionary and love and follow the Spirit. Not LIE and TRICK people.
The whole class was directed to me and no one else. I learned some
stuff but it was all opposite of what I had learned in the past year.
Preach My Gospel says to relate every contact to the REstoration.
Elder Gonzalez says it`s not any good. But I remembered that the
friggin` prophet of God wrote that book. I learned that events lead to
thoughts, and those create interpreted feelings. So what I need to do
to be happier is change the thoughts that the event creates. I know it
sounds confusing, but it makes sense to me.

Wednesday: So today was really awesome. We had our conference as
usual. And, as usual, I got my feel-good juices flowing. I loved
talking with all of my friends. I saw Elder Corliss and as I tried to
make my way to him, all of my other friends wanted me to talk to them.
It was a dilemma that I had never really had before,a nd I loved it.
But once Elder Corliss and I got together, we passed the whole day
together. It was great. Hna. Swenson gave us a great talk about how to
follow the guidance of the Holy ghost. She said that when we finally
meet him, we`ll fall at the feet of the savior in thanks for all the
times that he helped us. We listened to a talk that Elder Holland gave
in the MTC this past January. He emphasized that when christ told
Peter to drop his nets, he meant forever. "You aren`t going back."
We`re all on this journey and it won`t ever be how it was. When I came
out of that talk, I felt the Spirit. BIT TIME. I had chills everywhere
and I just LOVED. I saw people I remember not knowing, who are now my
friends. I LOVE them. I don`t even know how to describe that love. And
as I loved them, I realized that they were MINE. This is MY mission.
And I love Jesus Christ. When he asks me, "Lovest thou me?" I will say
yes. When Elder Montalvàn introduced himself he said, "I`m grateful
for my comp...and for the other 2 missionaries who entertain me at
night." Guess who the 2 missionaries are. Guess who leaps off of his
top bunk, pretending he`s spiderman. oh yeeeeaaaah. P.S. Today was
Devin`s Birthday. Happy Birthday, Devin!

Thursday: So I am at the halfway mark in my mission. 50%. 365 days.
It`s gone by so fast. The time that I have right now is the time I
have left. I`ve made it over the hill. I am just not able to grasp it.
I can only imagine I`ll feel a year from now. I`m having a sleepover
with Elder Corliss during an intertransfer and a year ago I would
never have imagined being here, with my childhood best friend after
being separated for 11 years. Those things just don`t happen like that
very often. Imagine if I hadn`t done the things I as supposed to have
done. Anyway, I got to do the actual transfer with Elder Degracie. I
actually have done one with him before, in Catrihuala, in the
beginning of September...wow. That was so long ago. The sector of
Centinela (where I(`m sleeping tonight) is on top of a green plateau.
The whole city! And it`s right on the edge of the coast, so it`s like
it`s a cliff that has a beautiful view. We went by people and they
actually answered their doors! That hasn`t happened since I was in
Temuco. It felt absolutely wonderful! I got to teach and testify and
be a real missionary. We taught someone about hte Gospel and the Book
of MOrmon. I testified about Joseph Smith harder than I had before. He
hadn`t really been paying attention until then, but then he said,
"well...now I really have to think about what you`ve told me." I left
him the traits of the true church of Jesus Christ. there were 17
points. A member came and did contacts with us. She was so cool!

Friday: So Elder Corliss and I kicked Elder Demke (Elder Corliss`s
comp) out of his bed so we could have a talk and find out how the
other has been. We were accidentally up until about 3 in the morning.
We got up on time and spoke some more. It was really REALLY cool. We
met up with our comps. at the bottom of the plateau and it was about a
10 min. bus ridde. And I zonked out. I was so happy to see Elder
CAlaway again. He really is one of my close friends, too. He`s so
energetic and just dedicated to whatever it is he`s doing. He faces
the same thing I do every day, and I am just so proud of how he`s
handling the stress of being here. We had to walk FOREVER to get to
our lunch today. But it was worth it. We had homemade noodles with
spagghetti sauce. We came back to the house to drop off my sleepover
clothes. Then we went out to do some contacts. Not a ton of potential
investigators. None, actually. But we did help carry some trash to a
dumpster for a guy. And Hna. Teresa said she saw us doing it when we
passed by in the evening. Elder Calaway said he`s learning lots of
stuff from me. I told him what Daddy had told me: that the 2 years of
the mission are a tithing of our 20 years of life that we`ve lived.
But I`m sure that he`s been able to learn other things from me. He`s
taught me the importance of being REAL with people.

Saturday: I`m so tired right now. My eyes are burning and my body
feels like poop. This is because I remembered a little too late that I
had been assigned a 5 min. talk in Sacrament Meeting tomorrow about
the guidance of the Holy Ghost. This morning, we lent some service to
Hna. Alba, of the Villa Acero Ward. She TOLD us she wanted us to chop
firewood. We were thinking logs. She had been thinking tinder. Then we
had to arrange the logs she already had cut. Then sweep and rake.
There her LITTLE chores. That was lame. but she paid us in cake. Which
was NOT lame. We got to talk to the family for a little bit today, to
set up the time to call tomorrow. They were so excited to talk to me.
THey were asking me lots of questions and I apparently have an accent.
I was talking the same as them! Devin apparently has bracesnow. After
the phone all, I didn`t feel as sad as I thought I might be. In fact,
I felt even better. Today was really tough. Our appts. fell through,
and we had done practice lessons and found scriptures to helop teach,a
nd everything. None of our contacts were good, either. But I found out
how to make contacts easier. I try to make myself as happy as I can
and it just flows. I WANT to talk to people. Also, Sister Devora made
me a new bag for my laundry. It`s about 20 gallons and waterproof! And
she didn`t charge me. That`ll help when transfers come. Now I`m going
to go rest and wake up happier and awake-ier.

Sunday: So, today was Mother`s Day. We fasted today, because we had
forgotten to do it last Sunday. We fasted that Merta would be able to
come to church and feel the veractiy of our message and the church
itself. When we called her house, her grandma answered and said she
was sleeping, but that she would wake her up. When we got there, I was
like, "Dude, she`s not gonna come." Elder Calaway was like, "She`ll
come out smiling and ready to go." 3 guesses who won. She came out
(smiling to boot) and was ALMOST ready. She had to tell her dad
something. That`ll tach my comp. We found her a friend in the church
and she stayed with her the whole time. I saw her reading the Personal
Progress book during SAcrament Meeting. She said she liked it and
wanted to come back. We had visitors while eating lunch with Hna.
Teresa. They loved me. Every word I said was funny to them. They
didn`t want me to go. I loved it. Then we spoke with the family. Elder
Calaway went first. Then me. I loved seeing my family! I told mom that
she was beautiful and meant the world to me. I told Dev and Cass to
take better care of her than I did. I told Mom and Dad that I mised
them. I felt safe with them. I didn`t want to say goodbye and go be
the "big boy" again. Out on his own in the big world. But I leanred no
one wants to say a last goodbye. That`s why I`m here. So that other
families can be together forever. Tonight was just a reminder of that.
I feel good.