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

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Monday: I woke up this morning, and just wanted to lay in bed. So I
did. It was awesome. I got up and had some hot milk, while I
was...swathed(?) in my snuggie, as I wrote my handwritten letter to
the President. These moments are some I´ll look back on, with
fondness. I love morning study, while wrapped in a blanket. I called
Elder Burch. He said the sector, there, is dead, and that his comp.
was a super-robot. They planned their Pday activities, including
cleaning, where they´d clean, for how long, and with what. He thanked
me for my example and for our transfer together. We´re going to hang
out after the Mission. We spent the whole Pday doing errands, trying
to get my second ID. I tried to get all the stuff ready beforehand,
but there were some terms I wasn´t sure of, so the Government lady
chewed me out for wasting her time, but at the same time, helped me
out. She said I had to tell the police I changed my address from
Hualpen,something I did (without notifying the police) 2 months ago.
She said if I HAD waited that long, I shouldn´t tell them, or they´d
take ALL my documents. Yikes. I asked Heavenly father to provide a
path where I wouldn´t have to lie and they wouldn´t take my documents.
The police never asked me when I arrived. Whew. We had an FHE planned
with Lily (a mom of a family that we found) and the Pinar family. Lily
cancelled at the last minute. We watched "The Testaments" with them.
It´s awesome.

Tuesday: Today was PERFECT! I don´t even know why, but I just loved
it. Everything that we needed to go well for us, did... and then some.
I prepared my class, for my District, but was later told I didn´t need
to worry about it. I turned in all the things I needed to, and then
sent off Jess´s letter. Then, we went to get my receipt for what I did
yesterday, then we booked it to lunch, getting there right on the dot.
I worked on making a duplicate of my "Scripture shortcuts" for Hna.
Roa during our hour after lunch. I was kinda nervous about teaching
"Tithing" to Jorge, fearing he´d have difficulty with it. But he
accepted it and I got to share some special experiences that I´ve had,
through Daddy´s strong, faithful example over the years. We´ve been
knocking the same doors since I got here. But I knew of a tiny
community we´d passed by once--made up of two blocks or so. But when
we went there, there were 9 blocks--9 SQUARE blocks. Never been
touched. We found lots of great people. I just got a jolt of
enthusiasm. Not even because of the new territory. But people just
seemed more receptive. as I realized that, EVERYONE was more
receptive. They hadn´t changed. I had. My attitude had. It was
beautiful Spring weather. I was friends with everyone. I was on top of
the world! I loved today! I loved teaching. I loved the weather. I
loved mhy sector. I loved the people. I loved the Gospel. I loved my
family. I loved EVERYTHING!!! I´m celebrating by eating popcorn and
powdered milk. Okay, when I got the milk I wasn´t thinking, "yipee" so
much as "skimpy." I´m trying to budget better. But I´m still

Wednesday: Well, today was less "mind-blowingly awesome" than
yesterday, to say the least. It was actually really sad. The morning
was fine. We got up, studied, and did some practices. We did a few
contacts in the morning before we had to walk to lunch, about 2 miles
away. ooph. The afternoon is when things start going downhill. We had
our appt. with JOrge. He accepted everything yesterday, that had to do
with tithing. He´s fine with donating money. But when we met with him
today, he told us he doesn´t want to get baptized on Saturday anymore.
He said it´s very important to him, and doesn´t want to do it, unless
he´s 100% willing to obey. It turns out that when we were showing him
how to fill out the tithing slip, we briefly mentioned what fasting
was. well, that scared the poop out of the poor man. He said that
skipping meals isn´t part of who he is. Not eating, to him, is as bad
as drinking coffee or alcohol. He pulled out a receipt that showed how
much he weighs. That, I noticed, showed that he´s conscious of his
eating. Maybe he can´t NOT eat. we´re preparing a lesson for him for
tomorrow. I don´t want to lose him. He´s a real friend, trying to do
what´s right. He´ll keep listening tryhing to understand. He just
needs more timem. That´s fine with me. I´ve never been in it for the
numbers. we did contacts in the afternoon, finding lots of "future
investigators." I like it here. I know the streets, I know the people,
and I like where I am with everything.

Thursday: Today was an okay day. It was overcast, but it didn´t rain,
for which I´m grateful. I spent the whole morning studying myu guts
out to learn as much about fasting as I could. I gulped it, I absorbed
it, it was a desperation search. I don´t want to lose Jorge. He´s so
close. But after learning more about it, I realized that it´s an iffy
commandment. You´re not a sinner if you don´t fast. It´s more like a
tool at our disposal. It´s not even on the Baptisimal interview list.
I called Pres. Martinez to ask and he said Jorge could get baptized
without being able to fast at first. Comprehension will come later. We
put together a careful lesson (´cuase you can´t just say, "It´s
alright if you ignore this ONE commandment so you can get baptized in
our church."). We did it, and I was so anxious/excited. We knocked at
his door and heard his son telling him to get the door. Then the son
said Jorge wasn´t home. AH! I don´t know what to think. Jorge´s a
good, honest man. I know he is. He wants to be transparent with us. I
don´t think he was avoiding us, but he didn´t answer/return our calls,
either. When we had our WArd Correllation meeting, Hno. Garcia said,
"I told you two he wasn´t ready. He has to wait until after the 18th,
´cause he wants to get drunk." I wanted to slap the man for
dishonoring Jorge´s integrity. If Jorge´s anything, he´s honest and
simple. He´s just confused about fasting, NOT alcohol. Hopefully we
can get a hold of him tomorrow.I heard that a comet whose passing will
happen on the 27th of this month, and will cause a monster earthquake
in midwest USA. I hope my family will be alright.

Friday: We were busy all day, today. During our study together, we
started Chapter 7 in Preach My Gospel: How to improve and study the
language. For me, my learning has slowed ´cause my vocab. just lacks
some outlying words. But for most normal conversations, I´m alright.
Tomorrow, we´re gonna make a Language study plan fr my hijo, so he can
learn English better. We had to cut our study short, because of an
appt. we´d made. We walked all the way over there, only to find that
her daughter had called from school, a few minutes earlier and was in
a diabetic emergency. By that time, we had to take a bus to eat lunch
with Hna. Roa. We did some service afterward, and got back to our
sector at 5:00. We picked up our clothes and then had to take a bus at
6:00 to interview someone from santa Barbara. It was 5:55 and a
10-minute walk. I wanted to cut down the street where the buses
usually pass, to try and catch it on the way. But I had a feeling to
go 3 streets farther away, and I was relieved to see it was passing
just as we got there. There had been a detour and the Spirit helped us
arrive on time. The candidate, Carol, passed. We came back, and Elder
Cottrell stayed with us, because Carol wanted him to come from temuco
and baptize her. I let him sleep in my bed. At 5:00 AM, one of the
sides of the top bunk gave out, and all the boards, and the mattress,
AND Elder Cotrell fell on Elder Zuñiga. I was laughing so hard! both
were okay. Elder Zuñiga wasn´t even hurt.

Saturday: Today was pretty dull, as far as Missionary Work goes. It´s
the day before Independance Day where they eat lots of food. Today,
they took all their efforts, and put them into making the food for
tomorrow. No time for Gringo Missionaries. In the Morning, we read
about how to study the language some more, and how to make a language
study plan. My hijo´s English is really coming along. I reviewed all
my notebooks, and found some of my first language study plans from the
MTC: Those were good times. Our three backup plans for the morning
fell through. That wasn´t cool. For lunch, we had a big soup, after
which I was full. Then we had 4 empanadas, and 2 desserts. Ha! The
average Chilean gains 10 lbs. during this week...until they go to the
bathroom :) We did contacts alla fternoon. We got into one house, but
it turned out it was because she felt sorry for us, and admired us for
leaving our hosues. She wasn´t interested in our message, or anything.
A waste of time. We saw Hna. Rodriguez and her family on the Highway,
and they pulled over to tell us they want to celebrate with us on
Monday or Tuesday (When Chile parties, they do it for days at a time).
I was down for that. We worked some more, before visiting Hna. Gloria.
She´s happy and well. I´m still laughing over last night. Elder Zuñiga
wasn´t hurt, miraculously. It was so funny!

Sunday: Today was Chile´s INdependance Day. It wasn´t as coola s last
year´s, but it was also better in some ways. There weren´t a lot of
people in church, but I got to learn a lot about the 12 tribes of
Istrael from Mouricio Rodriguez. That´s always been a tricky subject
for me, and something I´d like to study when I get back. As we were
leaving Church, I told Hno. Amstein that I liked his tie (black w/
yellow stripes). He unbuttoned his colloar, loosened his tie, and held
it out saying, "Have it." and walked off. I was like, "What the
heck?!" So that was awesome. We had lunch with Hna. Pinar. We didn´t
have any of the typical Chilean food, as is tradition, but we had
delicious pork and, for the first time in my mission, STEAK (w/o
cartilage)!!! Our drink was diced peach with orange crush. It was
awesome. After that, we watched "Emma Smith: My story." The love she
shared with her husband wa sso beautiful. The first time I watched it,
I was really excited to go preach to everyone. But today I thought of
my family. Cassie and Devin are gonna be my best friends after the
Mission, and I´ll be theirs. We did contacts for a while with zero
results. I´m gonna be home for the next 4th of July. Sometimes, you
can´t help but think of your family, on the mission. Especially on
family days. I called the Millahual family. That made me really happy.


Monday: Today was my first Pday in Los Angeles that we didn`t have an
activity planned. So instead of running everywhere, trying to do
things on a schedule, we got to take things slow. Elder Burch spent
the morning packing, while I cleaned and read a little. We went out to
use internet and write the family afterward. I called about my leather
Scripture cases. Walter said he sent them, and they should be in the
office. We spent the evening saying goodbye to more people: Hna.
Pinar, SAbrina and her mom, Cecilia, and the Garcia family. I`m
actually REALLY nervous about tomorrow. I realize that we don`t have
many people to teach. that really scares me a little. Planning with
few people is just hard...and repetetive. Luckily my first week with
my hijo should be the week of Sactification. We`ll find lots of
people! tomorrow`s entry is going to be awesome!

Tuesday:(Pg. 300 in my Journal) Today was a very exciting day. We
cleaned up the apartment some m ore, just in case. We finished with
just enough time to write in each others` journals. Then we went to
the Bus Terminal to leave. I went to Concepciòn to get my hijo. I had
TONS of preconceptions. I wanted a gringo to play around with, show
him around Chile. And if it WAS a Latin, I didn`t want a Chilean, so I
could show him the culture, and the way of talking. I got to the
terminal in Concepciòn and talked with all the trainers. We went to
the Mission Home, to receive a few training stuff. Then we got our
"hijos" (sons). After all my wanting and praying, guess what I got. A
chilean. Elder Steele, another trainer, said it was because of my
Spanish, and that I should have dumbed it down. There were 20 gringos
and 4 Latins that arrived. Out of all the trainers, I was the only
gringo that got to train a Latin. I was a little disappointed, but as
I thought about it, it was because I wouldn`t be able to do the things
that don`t have anything to do with Missionary Work, or couldn`t show
off how far I`VE come. How selfish I was! Funny how I had to wait for
"retrospective" to help me see that. I think Elder Zuñiga (my son)
will help me focus a lot better in my missionary purpose. We got home,
and let the Santa Barbara missionaries sleepover for the Distrizona

Wednesday: today was pretty tough for me. As a whole, the concept of
planning seems to be the Acheles (spelling?) heel of my mision skills.
But I`ve always had a pool of people to draw from, or a comp. to give
me some ideas. Now I have neither, and that realization is just
hitting me witha gripping fear that makes me feel like I`m
hyperventilating inside. I don`t know why. I just don`t think I`ve
been this alone with this much responsibility. I just want to give
Elder Zuñiga MORE than I have for him, right now. But from here, it
just looks like we`re gonna be stuck, doing a lot of contacts. We went
to Distrizona and I felt kind of ashamed for only having Jorge`s name
to put up, while everyone else had, like, 5. We went to lunch with
Hno. Bravo, and the first thing he says is, "Do you want lunch, or a
completo?" I LOVE completos, which are considered fast food, which he
disdains. He made fun of me! But, we got completos anyway. I got to
see the blessings of training with a good focus. We got into 2 houses
today. They were people who had lazy missionaries over, who would be
buddies instead of teachers. They didn`t want lessons. But my hijo`s
loving it. He`s a really good guy, and he knows the lessons. He just
gets a little nervous under pressure.

Thursday: Today wasn`t so bad, I think. Yesterday was just a shock for
me. But, you know, just a few months ago, I was musing on how life`s
trials are laser-guided to the weakest parts of our souls and
characters. Why SHOULDN`T I, a person that`s bad at planning with few
people, be put in a place that needs someone like that? Now it all
depends on how I react. God gave me a chance to prove myself. Maybe I
should. We are having comp. prayers mornings and nights, now, apart
from when we leave the house. We`re starting Preach My Gospel from the
beginning. Comp. study`s really awesome. Elder Zuñiga has really good
insights and a lot of knowledge, besides.

Friday: Our good-weather streak ran out today. It was really wonderful
while it lasted. At the beginning of the week, having to pay attention
to every little thing I did and said, was a bit of a shock. but now
I`m getting used to it. It`s also been a bit of a challenge to manage
the lessons, because he`s making some of the ssame mistakes I used to.
but Elder Zuñiga is SO low-maintainance. He`s not much of a burden at
all. He`s just so happy and ready to serve. and I swear you don`t know
the MEANING of "puppy-dog eyes" until you`ve seen the kid`s uncertain
but completely sincere smile. We`re following the schedule exactly,
we`re studying what we`re supposed to, and I`ve somehow managed to
keep up enough people for us to visit (it started raining jsut now and
I`m inside. Haha!) We finally got to teach some people today. Alexis
and Sandra. We started to teach the Book of Mormon, but my hijo took
off on another subject, then another and another. We snatched a return
appt. and I had to remind Elder Zuñiga that we need to stay focused on
one topic. He was cool with it. We visited Scarlet and Gustavo.
Scarlet wanted to know of of whose money the Prophet and apostles
lived. Law of consecration, baby.

Saturday: Today was one of them walkin` days. We walked and talked all
day long, after our appts. fell through. It was just one of the times
that has tested my diligence and hope. It was really tough for me, but
I just have to keep going. I just need the Lord`s help. We`re fasting
and praying for people. Blessings will come.

Sunday: Today was beter than yesterday, for sure. We went to Church,
to find Jorge there, again. The other day, he`d told us that he`d had
a strange dream. In it, there was a big building that was floating,
but fell down. I left him 2 chapters of the Book of Mormon to read:
1Nephi 8 and 11, where it talks of Lehi`s dream and the interpretation
of it. When we saw him today, he`d finished his reading. He said it
kind of freaked him out, but he felt at peace when he read it. It was
really cool. Sabrina`s mom, Cecilia, bore her testimony. He`s a hard
case, so she doesn`t cry often. But she broke. down. up there. She
used to be inactive, but this experience really gave her a testimony
of prayer and fasting. At the end of Sacrament Meeting, Hno Garcia
came up to me and told me I had the Sunday School class! 2-minute
warning. A new record of unanticipated duty. I was peeved. we did
contacts all afternoon, and had a few people tell us to come back.
that was good news. We visited Hna. Pinar. She was sick and asked us
for a blessing. After all this time in the Mission, it`s still strange
to think of how people see me, albeit less strange than at the
beginning. We visited Hna. Gloria. She said she`ll go to church next
week after 4 months!


Monday: Today was very tiring. We woke up when it was still dark, and
walked about 2 172 miles to a gym to play basketball as a Zone. It
felt weird, after not holding one for a year or so. We ran and played
really hard. Then we had to walk home again. That walk was really
long. It took an hour and a half to walk home. But they were good
memories. We changed into our Zone t-shirts and headed to the Bus
Terminal...I was going to talk about Laja waterfall, but we just got
very important news. We`ve been working with Sabrina, trying to have
her talk to her dad, and ask permission to get baptized. We had the
whole Ward fast for her, to help. She`s been trying for two years.
It`s 11:40 right now. We just got a text message form her Mom, saying
that she got permission! burch and I were dumbstruck for about a
minute. We read it again, and then we both started crying and
laughing. We knelt down and hugged each other in the silence, quietly
sobbing. I told him that he was a great Missionary, and this would be
something he`d always remember. I`m examining my feelings, and I`m
just SO happy! I`ve got the giggles I always get after a cry. We saw a
miracle of God today. He loves us and he loves Sabrina.

Tuesday: We woke up and went to our Distrizona meeting. I had asked
all of the missionaries in my District to prepare a lesson one
Christ-like attribute from Chapter 6 in Preach My Gospel. But the zone
Leaders wanted us all to get together. they told us that attitude`s
the most fundamental thing to success. it`s about "mental toughness"
as Elder Ballard said. So we got into 2 circles and each had 1 person
in the middle. Everyone would say really negative things to the middle
person. I was in the middle. Burch said I was a horrible comp. Someone
said I was their worst District Leader. And I had to reply to each of
them positively. It was a cool exercise. We had lots of crunchy,
cartilage-meat with Hna. brillònes for lunch. We did contacts in the
afternoon before we had to share the activity we had planned for the
"Missionary Work" night of Ward Conference Week. I`d prepared a lesson
on the Atonement. I offered a cookie to each person. For each person
who took a cooke and-- to everyone`s surprise--for each who didn`t,
Elder Burch did 2 push-ups. The cookies were the Gospel. Christ
suffered for everyone. Not just those who accept him. But for those
who DO accept him through obedience to his Gospel, life is so much
happier and richer. People came up to me afterward, and said it`d been
a long time since they`d had such a good lesson. Sabrina was crying.

Wednesday: We planned a lesson for Jorge, this morning, trying to
figure out how to help him if he is consuming something outside the
bounds of the Word of Wisdom. I`m thankful for Preach My Gospel in
this respect. He called us shortly after, to tell us that he had to
cancel for today, and for the rest of the week. That was sucky,
covered with lamesauce. But it`s alright, `cause we invited him to
Sabrina`s baptism on Saturday and he said he could. That sucketh not.
We had lunch with the Sister that offended both of Burch`s converts.
He didn`t say anything. Not one word. After lunch, we did divisions
with the Zone Leaders who were doing divisions with LIsonb ee and his
comp. So one Zone Leader, Elder Decker, went with Burch to do
Sabrina`s interview, while I went to the Zone Leader`s Sector with
Elder Tavernier, who`s got 1 month in Chile. We did contacts, and I
realized he has a great attitude. He sees things that are commonly
viewed as "annoying" or "impolite" as "funny" or "interesting." He`s
so great. We came back and did contacts. Burch taught me how to throw
pass-alongs. Yeah! We ended by visiting hna. Gloria. She`s doing well.
Burch says everyone thinks I`ll be training next transfer. I don`t
think I`m ready. We`ll see what the Lord says. The trainers usually
get their calls on Thursdays. Fingers crossed (Though for what, I`m
not sure)!

Thursday: No call today. Today was a good day. We goit up and did our
workouts extra hard, and it hurt. Yeah! We also did some productive
cleaning.We did our weekly planning before we had to go to the Zone
Leaders` house to pick up a white tunic for Sabrina to use on
Saturday. It`s a perfect fit! I got to see Elder Lisonbee while I was
there. He`s still awesome. We had lunch with Hna. Roa in the
countryside. We took a bus to get to her very long driveway. While
there, I found a picture of a girl in a nightgown (modest) that fell
out of my scriptures, where her daughter had hidden it with a note
that said, "You should repent for seeing this." So we got revenge on
her while she`s away for the week. We did contacts in the afternoon
because of our fallen appts. (may they rest in peace) We STILL weren`t
able to enter any houses. This whole week, we`ve been in the streets.
It`s been tough. But Cassie (friend) told me there`s good in every
situation if we`re willing to look for it. And daddy helped me learn
more about optimism, as well. So, really, things are better than I
would have thought, without their help. I listened to Cassie (sister)
and Devin`s tape in the night.

Friday: My mind is still blown from the news that i got this
afternoon, but I`m getting ahead of myself. We got up and read
through a pamphlet of "common doubts" that`s especially suited for
Chileans. it`s a really powerful tool I`ve been neglecting. We were
out, doing contacts at about 1:00, when we heard a honk. We looked
over, and saw Pres. Martinez and his wife. they`re like, "Hey, we want
to go inspect your apartment." The bottom dropped out of my stomach.
LUckily, we cleaned yesterday. Hna. Martinez made suggestions to take
out the stronger stuff we didn`t reach. I asked Pres. Martinez to
settle Burch`s and my bet of me training. He told Burch to prepare his
money. Ha! but an hour later, the Assisstants called me! Oh my gosh,
oh my gosh, oh my GOSH!!! I`m TRAINING!!! I`m gonna be a father in the
mission, with my little hijo. I was nervous at first, but now I`m
really excited for this blessing. Wow! I guess I made a really good
impression on Pres. Martinez...and the Lord, too, I guess. Wow! this
is so cool! We went to Santa Barbara to interview Alan, their
potential convert. He passed! We went to a Ward potluck that was so
good. When we left, we found items of revenge from Natalia in our
backpacks. I got some blue felt material sewn in the shape of a thong
with red hearts glued on it. There was a note that said, "You forgot
your thermals. Hope you enjoy!" So funny!

Saturday: Today was awesome! We got up and read some really cool
things in Preach My Gospel durin gour comp. study. Because of the
baptism we had in the afternoon, we knew we wouldn`t have any time to
work outside, so we got all of our contacts done in the morning. We
knocked a lot of doors, and barely spoke with anyone. They just won`t
open their doors! We didn`t find ANY new investigators this week. It`s
been kinda tough, especially now that I know that I`m going to have a
brand new hijo here. He probably will have a tough time with
contacts. I`m so excited to go back to learning the basics. I think
there will be some very important things I`ll discover have been lost.
We had lunch with the weird "cat family." The food was awesome. We had
to go to the baptism right afterward. Sabrina was a little nervous,
kinda like Mirta had been. There were about 8 others who got baptized
at the "boutizazo." It all went well. One Peruvian Elder baptized for
the first time. He had to do it 3x in front of everyone. I felt bad
for him. We went to Hna. Quiroga`s house to teach English to her
daughter, Florencia. She`s pretty dang smart. We got our transfers
tonight. I already knew mine, but Burch found out he`s going to Boca
Sur (south mouth) in San Pedro with Elder Jennings. He`s nervous
`cause it`s a dangerous sector. I know he`ll be fine.

Sunday: Today was pretty much a day of farewells. We got to church,
only to discover that, even though Jorge had promised 3 times to come
to church, he didn`t show up. Elder Burch was given time to say
goodbye. While he was up there, he took the opportunity to tell
everyone that no one should talk bad about missionaries--something
that this Ward does frequently. He did it in a way that would only be
noticed by those who did it. He emphasize3d it VERY well. So well,
that I`m not so sure it was as discreet as he hoped. Someone passed me
a note from Javiera Roa with 11 Birdmen. I had to do 11 pushups. We
said goodbye to Ricardo first. He lives in a very humble house. He`s
going to miss Elder Burch ve3ry much. They both cried a little.
ricardo gave a very nice, little speech. Then we said goodbye to Hna.
gloria. Last, we said goodbye to Gustavo and Scarlet. They`re so
awesome. Elder Bernal called me to tell me that Pres. decided to close
the Secto of Tirua. He`s going to Victoria, and Elder Tatasciore is
going to finish his mission in LIcan Ray, where I STARTED the Mission.



Monday: We woke up and just laid in bed for a while, talking to each
other. It was nice. I really prefer the homes with 4 missionaries more
than those with just 2. I`m really grateful that I have an awesome
comp. We went over to Santa Barbara`s chapel to watch some movies that
Elder Gomez has, that were approved by Pres. We watched "How to train
your Dragon" and "Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief." They were
both really good. After that, we went back to Los Angeles to write the
family. Today, Daddy sent me an email that gave me some really good
advice on how to be more positive. He had some really good insights.
He told me to enjoy clean rain. It just evaporates. What if it
"milked?" That would be messy. He enjoys all of the little things that
he can see and hear. What if he went blind or deaf? that really made
me want to pay attention to EVERYTHING. There are so many things that
I take for granted. I bet that when I start to count my blessings like
that, I`ll be able to live a happier, richer life. It was a very
important lesson to me. I had turned into a pessimist in the Mission.

Tuesday: We had our distrizona this morning. As a District Leader, I
have to give classes to my missionaries. I always say a prayer before
choosing. And after I`ve chosen, I see just HOW the class was meant
for their investigators. I have a testimony of the gift of
discernment. As we were walking back to our sector, I thought of how
grateful I was, for my dry feet. Then, water got in them. then, I was
grateful that it wasn`t "milking." Then, it started to hail.haha. But
at least I don`t melt when I`m wet. :)I just thought it was funny.
It`s been raining for two weeks straight. I`m so glad I have my
waterproof clothes, and a warm bed to come home to. We had lunch with
the Bishop`s wife. she`s a really nice lady. We ran into Ricardo,
Burch`s other offended, inactive convert. He said he was insulted by a
Sister. He said, "Women shouldn`t even say things like that." We`re
really anxious to know what happened. When we dropped off the clothes,
we shared what Ricardo had told us, to see what Hna. Pinar would know,
as Relief Soc. Pres. She didn`t, but she said that this ward was
really proud and rude, and that gossip is really bad. I started
thinking of the great chance I have, to help (I found a great lesson
on gossip last transfer). We did contacts and visited an inactive
Sister. burch and I were guided by the Spirit, and she said shell come
to church on Sunday. We`ll call her Sunday morning anyway.

Wednesday: We studied our Scriptures and after a while, Burch got out
his Dictionary and started quizzing me on random words. I didn`t get
many right. I s`pent the rest of the morning making a duplicate of my
Scripture Shortcuts for Hna. Pinar and Elder Burch. When I gave it to
her, she was really happy. Elder Tavernier wants a copy, too. WOOT! We
had roast(cartilage-free!) and potatoes with ajì. The flavor of ajì
would best be described as "mexican horseradish." very good. We spoke
about temples and then I showed Hna. Pinar a website where she could
look at them all. Then we picked up the Permaneced list we`ve been
buggin the Bishop for, for the last week. We tried to visit the
less-actives, but either they "weren`t home" or they were honest and
told us to go away. We taught Pìa and Rina in the afternoon. Rina
didn`t pay attention much at first, so we focused on her. Pìa
understood and helped her mom understand. The only problem was that
Pìa, herself, didn`t believe in the first vision. Rina did! but we
left them the invitation to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. As
we said goodbye, Pìa did the whole kiss-on-the-cheek thing. It`s
alright for the first time, but then you have to tell them, "no." It`s
just a cheek bump. No lips while you make the "muah" sound. Nobody
told Elder Burch that. He KISSED her cheek. He kept apologizing to me
for two hours. He felt so bad. I thought it was funny.

Thursday: I woke up this morning, to a phone call from Elder Lisonbee.
He called to tell me that he had a dream about me. We were driving in
his two-seater car, and I said, "I need to pick up my goat!" He told
me, "It`ll never fit!" Then he woke up. Haha. I love that he called to
tell me that. We did divisions today. I got to be comps. with Elder
Tonumaipe`a. He`s from New Zealand. Our first few appointments. fell
through, but then we taught Jorge. We haven`t taught him since 3 weeks
ago. We asked him if he remembered what we`d taught him last time. He
did, in great detail. We read 3 Nephi 11 with him. We asked why he
thought Jesus gave Nephi power. He said, "Well, if Jesus left, he`d
need a representative on Earth." He said he`d stopped a 30-year
smoking habit 6 years ago. I related how he felt after he stopped
smoking to how he`d feel after being baptized. He told us of some
really special spiritual experiences and how he thought he was being
prepared. We told him he was being prepared for baptism on Sep. 3rd.
He said that`d be fantastic! As I read the BOM in my personal study
this morning, I felt such a strong Spirit. I loved it. On the news,
students in Santiago are protesting that they need free college.
That`s SO dumb. It also showed a guy that was living in a supulcre.
Creepy. but today was a really Spiritual day.

Friday: We woke up and did exercises to this awesome Joseph Smith
tribute CD I found on Monday. We were playing soccer in our
livingroom. it`s alright. IN a Missionary apartment, "livingroom"
means "small, concrete, box-like room without any furniture." I marked
my Bible and we bothread about helping people keep commitments. When
we invite people to make commitments, we`re inviting them to repent.
We did contacts in the morning, after an appointment fell throught.
Tonumaipe`a "bird-manned" me a LOT. I`m going to play that a lot when
I get back. While we were doing contacts, we ran into Ivon, a member.
She took us to a market to buy us ice cream and cookies. We had lunch
and then ended our divisions. Elder Burch said that he was relieved to
be back with me, because Tonumaipe`a`s comp`s Spanish was awful. He
likes being with me `cause he knows I`ve got his back. We did contacts
during the whole afternoon, trying to find some new people. We
couldn`t. But it`s alright. At 8:30, we went to visit Ricardo. He told
us of some nasty rumors about him that are going around church, that
one of the members let slip. He was very offended and appalled. but
he`s had a true conversion. He said he won`t go to church this week,
but he will soon. He`s only been a member for a matter of months and
these members are just horrible examples of christ. Burch was ANGRY!

Saturday: We had a pretty good day, today. we woke up and did our
studies and everything. Contacts in the morning were kind of a bust,
because the people wouldn`t even answer the door. That, or they ALL
were out, running errands. After all, it was a Saturday and the first
sunny day (without rain) in three weeks. It was so beautiful. We were
out tracting in our short-sleeve shirts. It was about 70 F. Gorgeous
Spring weather! We had lunch with Hna. Ivon. She`s an English
proffessor that knows how to cook American (north) food. That said, we
had some delicious enchiladas! they were absolutely amazing. For
dessert, she made Pazuki--which is choc. chip cookie dough covered in
vanilla ice cream, laid ina cake pan. I had 3 bowls. I LOVE cookie
dought! We finished up our contacts for the week today, `cause we`ll
be in the countryside tomorrow. 3 people let us into their homes. We
got to teach a lot, today. We visited JOrge tonight, to teach him
about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He accepted everything. He wants to
repent and get baptized and take the Sacrament every week. He`s such a
good guy. He reminds me of a Spanish John Goodman. Hwe`d read the
chapter we`d left him, and he showed us his favorite parts. He said he
felt the Spirit while he read it. We visited Hna. Gloria, to see how
she was doing. She`s fine--didn`t even mention being offended, and
she`ll come to church tomorrow.

Sunday: We got going to Church, and realized that it was really REALLY
cold weather for just wearing a suit. This WArd is really gossipy. We
heard, today, that one Brother almost called the Mission Pres. to tell
him that we were wearing seaters. I mean come on! "heaven forbid,
they`re trying to stay warm!" It`s not even against the rules. The
Mission Pres. wears a sweater, along with every missionary in the
Mission! Jorge came to church, 20 min. early, which is saying
something, considering we moved the hour forward. He had to sit on his
bench alone, `cause these members are anti-social and we had to pass
the Sacrament. But as I realized this, a nice member went to do it. We
had lunch with Hna. Roa. She`s so awesome. She invited her adventist
neighbors over to listen to us. I knew it would be a bad idea to talk
about the Restoration, so we taught the Plan of Salvation. Afterward,
they asked about the Sabbath Day. Here we go. I taught well (my comp.
didn`t know how to prove it was Sunday, so I used a Scripture chain
I`d found in my study). Then she just went off on all these "proofs"
that were REALLY biased. I showed her 1Corinthians 16:1-2, which says
the members of the church met every 1st day of the week. She wanted to
fight. We presented our beliefs and answered her question. And we
didn`t argue when she was practically foaming at the mouth as she
screamed, "Saturday!" in her enthusiasm. whew.


Monday: Today was a pretty good Pday. We had an activity planned, as a
Zone. It was raining when I woke up and I didn´t want to go. But my
comp. said going to a freaking volano is a once-in-a-lifetime
opportunity! So I got up and it stopped raining. It was a long bus
ride to Antuco, but I had lots of fun talking with Elders Lisonbee and
Oversby. We didn´t actually go to the volcano, which was a let-down.
We were withing 1 km of the base. Lamesauce. But I saw snow for the
first time in a year and a half. We had an epic snowball fight. No one
had gloves or boots for the 3-ft. snow. I got white-washed and I just
loved being with all my friends that I love. In my email, mom and Dad
told me that Peaches died. I cried a l ittle. Dad sent another letter
that was more personal. I started crying again, 2 sentences into my
reply because I loved him and mama so much. Elder Burch had a virus on
his hard drive and almost lost all his photos. But he got them back.
His mom didn´t write him for the 2nd week in a row. He was very angry.
We bought 2.5 liters of Coke and it´s empty now. I only had 2 glasses.

Tuesday: We had our Distrizona today. We rewarded our Zone with
empanadas for completing all the goals for last week. We had lunch
with the Rodriguez´s. Their son, woh´s an MTC teacher, said he might
visit my family today. We did contacts and found Carlos. He doesn´t
go to a Church, but already had a guess that was close to the truth
about the Apostasy. (This day´s short because of a LOT of personal
thinking and pondering)

Wednesday:We had our conference today. It was really wonderful. We had
a lesson from Hna. Martinez about how to study the Scripturees better
and more effectively. We learned how to study the Doctrine of the
lessons. Pres. Martinez taught us how the children of God are being
prepared. I love seeing te hand of the Lord in this wonderful work.
The Assisstants had us all practice contacting each other. We drew
from a hat, to see if we were the "elect" or not. We were to talk to
everyone, to find the "elect." We had 5 min. Turns out that the
Assisstant, Elder Bustos, was on the stage, and NO ONE spoke to him.
We need to talk to everyone. I got a letter from Cassie. We hit the
streets and spoke with EVERYONE! We met Rina and her daughter Pía.
Their husband/father died last November. I loved them so much. I
wanted to let them know it was okay, that there was hope. I prayed for
the Spirit, so we could help them. They trusted us and asked me to
interperet a dream they had, of their dad, together. It was really
special. I testified of Eternal families. It was a good lesson. I love
feeling the Spirit. It makes things so easy to bear. We passed by, to
see how Gustavo and Scarlet were. They´re great. They´re reading in 1
Nephi 13 together.

Thursday: I´m feeling really happy. Nothing really exciting happened
today. I was writing my response to Cassie, and I realized some things
that really made an impact on me. I was asked about something I
mentioned in my last letter. I was about to replay an answer that had
been locked in my mind since childhood. But as I thought about it I
realized my opinion had changed. I thought about other questions and
discovered other things that were...different. It was a huge neon sign
to me, that the lord´s changed me. I forgot How I thought of some
things before. I was influenced by so many things. Here, I´ve really
found myself. We went to the Bishop´s house to get a Permaneced list.
Elder Burch broke a glass while playing with a balloon. Haha. We spent
the afternoon looking for the new investigators from last week. They
were all busy. Oh well. We keep on going.

Friday: Today was a great day. It rained in the morning, during our
study time. But when it was time to go out and work, it had already
stopped. I used my study time to start marking my new bible with my
special system. The morning was spent doing contacts. One guy didn´t
even listen to us. We asked what his name was, and he said, "I´m
fine." but when my comp. reached for a pass-along, the man
instinctively reached out a hand to receive it. I realized that some
people tune out everything you say and only pay attention to body
language-unless you ask good questions to make them think. For lunch,
Hna. Carmen Julia just brought out a ton of empanadas, and it was a
free-for-all. Then we started our fast for Sabrina. In the afternoon,
we told Baltazarwe wouldn´t pass by anymore. We taught Sabrina and she
said she´d received an answer about Joseph Smith. We practiced being
her dad and she asked us for permission to get baptized. Now it´s in
the Lord´s hands. then we went o Mulchen to do my first interview as a
District Leader. His name was Marco Siv. It was a short interview
´cause he answered with such thoroughness. He´s a good kid. On the bus
ride home, my comp. sawa slug bug, and hit me. I know. I don´t get it

Saturday: Today was an okay day. All of our appts. fell through, but
we got to talk to a lot of people. We have been organizing our Area
Book and taking the list of future investigators and trying to clean
it out. It was allthe people that said, 2I´m busy now, come back
another day." That´s pretty much what they told us when we passed by
this afternoon. When we went to lunch, we had to wait for about an
hour, ´cause the Sister had forgotten. We had "meat" and potatoes. But
for dessert they gave us ice cream with Chocolate syrup! that was
delicious. One lady let us in, but we soon found out that she was an
inactive Sister that had been offended by people in the ward. We
shared some Scriptures with ehr and invited her to church. THere´s not
much more you can do. We´re goint to pass by another day. We contacted
a guy, and said we were Missionries. He said, "No" and gave us the
finger. I said, "Yes, we are," even though I knew what he meant, and
started testifying. We went by Hna. Gloria, Burch´s convert that´s
inactive now because someone offended her. She says she doesn´t go now
because she´s sick. Maybe she´ll "feel better" soon?

Sunday: We had some exciting experiences today. We got up and went to
Church. During Sacrament Meeting, we had 16 inactives come back to
church! A really weird Sister, Hna. Martha, got up to besar her
testimony, but ended up confessing to everyone that she hasn´t taken
the Sacrament in 2 months ´cause she can´t arrive on time,among other
things. we were going to eat lunch with the Bishop´s wife, who is
cool, but hey switched on us and we had to eat with Hna. Martha.
She´s SO weird. She told us how her husband´s a deserter and is
avoiding cops. She lives in a forest. Eler Cotrell told us that there
were people in black robes that worshipped the Devil sometimes. As we
walked around, there were some wposts when we could just feel
irritated and agitated. Ugh! SO Creepy! We completed with our
contacts, so that I could be a good example for my District. Then we
got on a bus for Santa Barbara. We´re gonna party with them tomorrow.
But when we got here, they didn´t answer their phone, they weren´t
home, and it was 34 F. We waited in the cold for an hour, before they
got home. I´m warming up by the stove, now. :)


Monday: Today was a good Pday. We woke up early, so we could get our
apartment cleaned from the rigorous harships of dealing with 20
year-old men. And it pulled through alright! Then, we went over to the
Zone Leader`s house. they were out of town for the day, but they share
a house with LIsonbee and Elder Tavernier. We went over to make
pancakes. Mine and Lisonbee`s comp. sat on a couch to talk about weird
things like basketball and soccer statististics. It was like another
language. Lisonbee and I had fun in the kitchen, trying to coax
various pancakes out of the frying pan (not into the fire) without
being "wrinkled," and failing almost every time. But the flavor was
delicious, and the amorphorous blobs were all a cheerful golden brown.
Sweet! We all pitched in, and bought a Volleyball to play with, as a
Zone. We did, for a while, before it rained, and we had to go eat
lunch at the Mall. We had Churrascos at a place called, "Juan
Jaestro." The meat was seasoned! it was so delicious, my mouth was
having a meltdown. It was awesome! We wrote the family. Devin wrote
for the first time in a while. He`s excited for his Sophomore year
that`s coming up. We got home, and I had a monster migraine that
incapacitated me. ouch.

Tuesday: Today changed the Mission again. Usually, we have a
"Sanctification Week" for the first week of every transfer. During tht
week, we do 200 contacts, instead of 240, so we can find new people to
teach. Now, we`re going to have the Sanctification Week for the first
week of every month, and this week, we have to do 490 contacts. Not
impossible. But talking to 80 people a day, trying to have real
conversations with them, is challenging. After the Distrizona we did
divisions with Elders Gomez and Cotrell in Santa Barbara, so I went
there with Gomez. I got a letter from Alan. He reminded me of some
really precious moments from our friendship. I really feel like he`s
my brother, and will be my best friend forever. We went around, doing
80 contacts throughout the day. There have been so many deaths here,
lately. Their investigator`s uncle hung himself 3 days ago! Crazy! We
met a lot of mean people today. We contacted a lady, and she said
she`d call the cops if we didn`t leave her alone right there. Another
girl started running waway when we started talking to her. Then she
stopped, and said we`d frightened her. Geez. My Sector did 91
contacts. It`s a good start.

Wednesday: I`m exhausted. I mean, "Whew!" We`ve done the whole week`s
worth of work, and then some, in two days. And we`re still not even
halfway done. But I`m loving it. I don`t know why. It`s hard. People
still reject us. But I guess that now that we all have this
crazy-ridiculous goal to achieve, it makes me want to do my part. I
don`t want to let anyone down, least of all, the Lord. So we keep on
going. While I was with Elder Gomez, he told me about his
companionship. He said they were fine now. Elder Cotrell apparently
got upset with me, after I told him that not completing with the
Lord`s standards was "unacceptable." I didn`t WANT to be hard, but he
just doesn`t feel guilty for failing the Lord. It had to be done. We
had lunch with the Rodriguez family. I think they like me. Sis.
Rodriguez family. I think they like me. We did all of our work today,
and saw a miracle. We always pass by this one lady, Blanca. She never
lets us in. But we`re asking God for miracles, in our prayers, and
Blanca let us in, after a month of daily pestering and wants to hear

Thursday: Today was good. It rained a little, but it came in little
spurts that were harmless. We had a great plan in the morning, to
visit all of our investigators that are only available on Thursdays.
Unfortunately, they all told us that they were unavailable. That
sucked...again...like last week. But we had a good weekly planning
session, anyway. We`re gonna try and help the people we`re teaching in
creative, new ways. The things of the Missiopn are to prepare us for
life after. Like how contacts are meant to help us date, and find
worthy women. but something I`ve realized, is that when they tell us
to be creative, that carriews into dating, too. I helped Elder Burch
learn which prepositional phrases are accompanied by which verbs
during our language study. Then, we went out and did contacts all
afternoon. We found some really cool people. That, in itself, is a
neat Miracle. There was a woman from Argentina, who has only been here
for 3 months. She used to live a block away from the Buenos Aires
Temple. Then we found 3 other people who let us in their homes. Lots
of work is getting done this week. Cotrell and Gomez have 301 for the

Friday: With 15 months in the Mission, I`ve only got 9 months left.
Onto the single digits, baby! I`m getting older in the Mission. It`s
interesting talking to mothers who have their sons serving Missions,
getting to know their perspective, and trying to imagine how my Mom
talks to other people about me. Did she ever cry over me? How often
does she thing of me? Entirely selfish thoughts, I know. But hey, who
doesn`t want to feel their mother`s love, after not seeing her for a
year and a half? We trudged around in the rain, and visited some
less-active members. None of them answered their doors. We had lunch
in an enormous mansion. i mean, they had a pool and a soccer field in
their yard. Their bathroom had a one-way mirror-wall, with a view of
the forest. Very disconcerting. Our first contact was funny. We were
greeted by a young 17 year-old boy. He raced up to get his parents and
never returned. We waited 10 minutes by the wide-open door, and they
never came. huh. We were tempted to keep the door open when we left,
but thought better of it. We`re on track with our contacts. We met an
agnostic that believed in reincarnation because he didn`t think it was
fair that someone be born without a leg. We taught about the
Restoration and the Plan of Happiness that we have, because of the
REstored Authority. He said he`s very interested. My Districts`s doing
well, too. They`re seeing their own miracles.

Saturday: Elder Burch and I discovered that I have bags under my eyes.
Well, dang it. That`s not cool. We`re both really tired. He may be
even more tired than I am, seeing as how he has insomnia. But we
figured out why this week has been so hard on our eagerness: we`ve
been doing 4x as many contacts which means we get 4x as many slammed
doors. This sector has just been hardened. We`ve spoken with so many
people this week, with very little success. We got to eat lunch with
Hna. Roa, today. She`s my new favorite Sister in the Ward. We actually
stayed and talked for a while after lunch. She talked to us about
Marriage (I`m not sure why), and it was full of really helpful advice.
But I`ll be darned if I say it didn`t make me miss girls. When we got
home, Burch and I talked about all our past girl experiences. It seems
so surreal, like it was someone else`s life. It`s actually kind of
frustrating, not being able to feel like those things were MINE. It
will be hard to just jump back into the rold of a normal person.
REALLY hard. How can I do that? I wrote a letter to Sis. Black. Her
husband died not long ago. We also heard there was a
"mini-depression." today :O

Sunday: I had a dream that I was back home, at the Christofferson FHE
and I saw Colten, and Aunt Leslie and everyone. I was so happy. Then I
woke up in Chile. I`m not going to say it was a bad thing, but those
kinds of dreams make it really hard to be "here" and happy. Even
thought it feel like another life and everything, I`ve just felt kinda
lonely lately. This Ward hates MIssionaries, spies on us, and judge
us, without even knowing us. My heart just felt a litle heavy this
morning. It hasn`t felt like that in a while, so I can`t really
coplain. A Scripture I`ve found in my personal study to help this, is
in D&C 136:31. It says that the Lord`s people need to be tried
sometimes. The Lord`s people, as well as the non-believers. It`s part
of life. What am I gonna do? call the Waaaaaambulance? Trials are just
easier--as much for others as for yourself--when you take them in
stride, and try to do your best with what you`re given. We met as a
Stake this morning, to listen to a Seventy. I do`t know what his name
is. He gave a good talk about forgiveness. We had chicken and rice
with a less-active member (she works Sundays). We spent the afternoon
finishing our contacts. We did it! Woot! My comp. was feeling sick, so
he`s asleep already.