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

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Monday: today was a great Pday. The Zone Leaders planned an activity
in Lebu. Initially, no one in Curanilahue wanted to go with me. Bu
then Eler Arjona spoke with my comp, and reminded him of a commitment
he`d made, that I wasnt aware of: to keep his comp. happy. So he
changed his mind. But when Elder Smith heard we were going to the
beach and some caves, he offered to take Elder Brady`s place. It was
really pretty. We went from the main beach, through a long tunnel,
into a smaller inlet. It was an awesome white sand bach. We spent the
first little while taking pictures. We went quite a ways from the main
group. We were climbing on the rocks close to the waves. Elder smith
wanted to go to a specific place, but it was too close to the waves
for my liking. Elder Smith went ahead to show me how. But as soon as
he was pinned in what we thought was a "safe spot", the waves got
ENORMOUS and came over his head. He pretyt much almost died. I got
pictures. But we got back all right. We were going to receive a
spiritual message in the tunnel when Hna. Gomez sprained her ankle.
Luckily, an inactive member with a 15-person van drove up right then,
and took us to the hospital. Lucky. riiiiiight. Here`s waht I imagine
the Spiritual message being: We were in a long, dark tunnel with a
light at the end. The way was rocky and dangerous (hence the sprained
ankle...it was real, not planned, so don`t go having sadistic thoughts
about our teachers). We were told to bring our flashlights. Some
didn`t. These could depend on others` lights, but it was not easy. I
imagine the flashlights being our testimonies. We can lean on others`
from time to time, but it`s a lot more hazardous when we`re directly
confronted with challenges. The family`s doing better. Mom said the
car`s ready and waiting for me. Dad said the clots are now scar tissue
that will dissolve. What a relief.

Tuesday: Today was all right. I got kind of sick in the evening, but
it was a good day besides. We made i in time to catch our bus to
Distrizona. We spoke with the Zone leaders about goals for this month.
As a Zone, we`re actually doing pretty well, and I told them we`d have
2 more for March. It was Elder Smith`s last District Meeting, and he
was talking and talking, taking away from the lesson. I wasn`t the one
teaching it. It was comforting to know he listens better when I`m the
one talking. It shows he respects what I have to say. Elder corliss
was awesome and bought a cake for Elder Arjona, because it was his
birthday last week. We had lunch with Hno. Alvarado, the Elders`
Quorum Pres. He runs a tight ship. He laid out exactly how our lunch
behavior would be. Afterwards, he chewed us out for the actions of two
of us this past Sunday. Apparently someone had tattled, becasue he
wasn`t even in Church on Sunday. He said if he catches us being
irreverent (sleeping, reading Scriptures not of the lesson) again, hed
take us into the hall. Just so youknow, I wasn`t one of the offenders.
When he gave us that little lecture, it was done in a very
considerate, loving way. The other 3 Elders were offended. I thought
it was cool. As a Leader, I`ve found I`m TOO loving, and sometimes
people don`t listen to me. Thanks to this brother`s righteous example,
I can be a better leader. I got sick in the evening, throwing up 3
times. I`m feling better now. The other companionship traveled to
Concepción tonight, for the Conference tomorrow. We`ll be going

Wednesday: Today was great! I mean I`m really happy right now. I
actually heard something cool in our conference: Happiness is a
decision. I think that`s true. The trick is doing it even when it`s
hard. Anyway, we had our big conference today. We got up at 5:00 so we
could take our bus to Concepción. As we got to the Meeting--well, a
half-hour before it--I studied Scripture Mastery for 10 min. with
Elders Woodward and Rasmussen (Elder Rasmussen and I were the only two
to get 100% on the test), the San Pedro Zone Leaders. We spent most of
the day learning about improving our teaching skils. We had some
really cool object lessons. For example, Elder Tanner had us mention
investigator doubts and solutions. We`d then get to try and hit a
bulls-eye on a dartboard, representing us trying to findInvestigator`s
doubts on our own. Then, he played a track on his iPod (low volume)
and told us to listen to the "spirit`s" voice, telling us to throw the
dart at the ballon in the garbage can in the corner. I was the first
one to recognize it, and got to throw from 4 ft. away. After 5
freakin` failed tries, I gave up. analogy to my mission work (being
able to find the doubts but not executing the teaching)? Maybe. It was
embarrasing. Elder Brady got it on his first try. I talked with Pres.
afterward, asking permission to go baptize Scarlet on the 25th. He
said transfers were this week, and I`d be leaving. He gave me
permission and thanked me for my patience with elder Brady. He said
I`d passed through the trial of faith and now the blessings can come.
He thanked me for my obedience and righteousness (in front of
everyone, no less) and told me he wanted me to be a Zone Leader (in
private) somewhere in Concepción. Wow. I didn`t see that coming. I
actually feel really good about it. Better than if he`d told me I`d be
training. Whew! YEAH!!! We came back at 9:00 PM and had a [very] late
lunch with Hna. Diaz. She`s so awesome.

Thursday: today was a good day. for my personal study, I read some
little stories from the January Liahona. they were both about people`s
conversion tories. And the cool part was that they were totally
miraculous! One told of a girl that got a copy of the Book of mormon
form a co-worker, saying that he knew it was a true book of Jesus
Christ`s Gospel, and that it would touch her heart. she read it and
loved it. Some time later, she moved. One day, she passed abuilding
witha stained-glass window of Lehi`s dream. She asked a emmber, and
he referred her to the Missionaries. For the Missionaries, it was
someone who randomly showed up, wanting to be baptized. It happens.
But there is so much that goes on behind the scenes, that we`re not
even aware of. Heavenly Father knows each of us, and will do
everything to give us the chance to choose happiness. It just depends
on us. We had lunch with Hna. Judith, Hno. Neira`s sister. We had
CFC--Chilean Fried chicken. It was good. In the afternoon, I had to o
with Elder smith to Interview their Investigator, Paula. She`s really
smart. And she told me of some of her Spiritual experiences. She`d
been told if she wanted to know something, she just had to ask. she
asked a question on Fast Sunda. Then, someone testified of Heavenly
Father, Jesus Christ, and Joseph SMith. She said she felt, lik, a wind
on her face and a feeling that it was true. As I finihed the closin
prayer, she looked like she had something to say. At my request, she
told me she felt a calm energy on her back as I prayed. It gave her
goosebumps, which she never gets. I still have the Spirit!

Friday: Today was great. 2 years ago, from today, Elder Lisonbee went
into the MTC. He completed his 24 months of service. So I gave him a
call to congradulate him and see how he was feeling. He said he was
dead, and that he was sleeping in. Haha! I can`t believe he`s DONE!!!
It feels like it coul dnever end. And, indeed, there are many times
when I wish it wouldn`t. It`s sad to think I won`t be able to see him
for a while. But I know I`ll see him again soon. It`s just another way
the Mission relates to real life. I mean, Grandfather and Grandpa have
both died, and I was sad. It wasn`t the grief of a permanent loss, but
of emporary separation. We`ll see each other again when I finish my
mortal mission, just like I`lls ee Elder Lisonbee in a few months.
We`ll watch the new Spider-man movie together--AT MIDNIGHT!!! On our
way to lunch, a dog HOWLED at us. Like a wolf. It was sweet. Elder
Smith also completed 2 years today. He wasn`t too inclined to work. I
didn`t push him. He FINISHED his Mission. That`s so cool. We workedin
the afternoon, and met a few people. the most receptive was Gloria. We
took our clothes to Hna. Nidia`s. As I shared a Scripture, I
discovered I had opened to yet another one about humility. Totally
accidental, but it struck a chord in her. She talked bout someone who
was offended by her actions, but she assured us she never does
anything wrong, and she was the victim. She wouldn`t listen. We (Elder
Maldonado and I) met with Hno. Neira for correlation, because Elder
Smith got sick.

Saturday: Today was a great day. I spent it with Elder Smith, `cause
he asked me to. He`s kinda freakin` out because he`s going to see his
family in only a few days more. In the morning, we played some cards
while just talking. He told me about all the things he`s excited to
do/eat/see when he gets back. I just listened. I`m pretty good at
that. Our lunch was a little different today. We had a Branch activity
where the little kids got to play in inflatable pools an there was a
big tarp to make shad for the adults. For lunch, we had Umitas. In
Mexico, they`re caled Taales. Basically, they`re rolls of mashed-up
corn and onions. The eat them with sugar, and they`re pretty good.
We`re probably going to have leftovers tomorrow. :) We spent a while
trying to figure out how to get the font going, for the baptism,
because it was acting up. But we did that and waited for it to fill.
Then we had Paula`s baptism. She belongs to the other Missionaries. Al
went well. In the afternoon, I wrote a reply to Miriam. She`s serving
in New York. That`s pretty cool. I got a call in the night, telling me
the transfers. I`m going to be a zone Leader in the Talcahuano North
Zone, in the "Cruz del Sur" sector with Elder Aparicio. I`ve heard
he`s good. Elder Mendenhall is replacing me, here, to be with Elder
Brady. I called Hna. Pinar in Los Angeles, to tell her how much I
loved and missed her. My hijo`s leaving to be in Temuco Cautín. That`s
cool. Elder Calaway and Elder Montalbán are going to be Zone Leaders
in the other Zones of the North with me. WOOT!!! I love being a

Sunday: So, I woke up to a phone call from the Zone Leaders, telling
me that the Olivares family, from Tirúa, want me to baptize their 8
year-old daughter, Belén--this Saturday. Dang it! I`m getting
transferred. I`ll have to check with Pres. Martinez and my new comp.
But it`s great to have both Scarlet and the Olivares family wanting me
to be part of their lives. I love them all. In SAcrament Meeting, all
of the themes were basic stuff. I used to get bored of all the
repetition, but I realized something really obvious: basics are
fundamental. I hear lots of Missionaries say things like, "I can`t
wait to do such-and-such with my Eternal Companion." But it`s not like
we can just skip there, like it`s automatic. We cannoat make Temple
Covenants if we can`t do simple things like daily Scripture study. So
those primary talks became very important to me. I just love being
instructed by the Spirit. Elder Smith and Elder Maldonado went to
Concepción for Elder Smith`s Interview (the office people actually
screwed things up, and he actually didn`t have it today, and had to
come back). We had lunch with Hna. Bernardina. She`s Elder Oversby`s
convert. I`m so grateful for all of the Sisters` sacrifices in our
lunches. they WWILL receive blessings. The good news is that Elder
Smith`s trip to Concepción was not COMPLETELY in vain: I got a letter
from Cassie!!! It was awesome. :D


Monday: Today was a good pday. Very productive. We got a call late
last night, from the Zone Leaders, saying that we needed to have the
house clean all week because Pres. is going to come and inspect them.
The gratifying thing is that all 4 of us did our parts. Elder Smith
cleaned the nasty bathroom which had not been cleaned in 6 months.
Ugh! Elder Maldonado took care of the kitchen. I`ve been asking him
to, for over a week,. There have been ants EVERYWHERE in our
apartment. Elder Brady cleaned up his "organized Chaos". Now our room
looks decent. I swept the house (wooden floors), dusted, and washed
the walls. Then, I did something I didn`t use to do: I looked for
something else that needed doing, and took care of the fridge. As a
house, we`re in a financial pickle again. Everyone`s out of cash again
(except me) because everyone keeps lending money to Elder Smith, and
he uses his credit card to pay them off. He`ll get cash on Wednesday.
I hope. I loved talking with the family today. Mom said that Daddys
feeling much better, not coughing as badly, but his neck still aches
from bonking his head last week. All in all, it was a good day.

Tuesday:Today was awesome! I got the money situation taken care of,
and we were all able to go to Distrizona. We had enough to take only a
certain kind of bus, and we had to go on the first one becasue we
don`t get many buses to Cañete and take what we get. The first bus
wasn`t the one. I asked the driver how much he charged and, sure
enough, it was too much. He must have seen something in my face
because he offered a lower price, which was exactly what we needed.
Tender mercies of the Lord! The Zone Leaders introduced s ome new
goals and I passed them to my district. Eder Arjona spoke with Elder
Brady, telling him he needed to start helping out or he`d go home. I
bought a big painting for $3. It was random, but gorgeous. I`m full of
enthusiasm again. There`s still a part that`s tired and a little
disappointed, but I know this is a critical time for elder Brady so
I`m going to be a good example. I also asked Eder Corliss to motivate
me, just in case. We met nice people and not-so-nice people. We got
into one guy`s house, but he was WAY drunk because his wife left him
14 years ago. He asked me to help him and I told him to stop drinking.
He went into another room and came back with wine dribbling down his
chin. I felt bad. The look on his face is something I usually see in
children. We shared a scripture before setting an appt. with him for
tomorrow morning, hopefully he`ll be sober. Oh! And his name`s
gustavo. It felt good to be enthusiastic again. I`ll last longer this
time. Also, I found a list of Elder Brady`s "Positives" that he has,
to help change his attitude. He mom had listed, like, 4, and he had 2.
One of his was a re-wording of one of his mom`s. the other was "my
companion". ME! That makes me feel good.

Wednesday:It`s the first day of February. That`s so crazy how fast the
time is going. this morning was so great. I got Elder Brady up on
time, today. He kept telling me he was not a morning person the whole
time. He alsosaid he didn`t like studying. But when I sat him down,
and encouraged him to write in his study journal, he took to it like
an alligator takes to some hapless animal...that was a weird simile.
:) He just got really into it, you know? But it kind of made me feel
guilty, knowing that if I hadn`t let myself get disappointed I would
have been able to keep him going. But it takes a LOT to get him going.
I`m afraid that I`ll be held responsable for not having had the best
attitude. It didn`t bother me before. But I feel that I should always
be happy as a Missionary. Anyway, I AM feeling happier. We had our
personal studies as well as a companionship study. It was awesome to
see him explaining things to me. I was so happy to find how many times
I was smiling throughout the day. It rained on Monday, and it seems
that it was the "end of summer" rain, meaining that it`s going to
start cooling down. Thank goodness. I`ll be gone before winter gets
here, though. That`s weird. I was kind of nervous to go over to
gustavo`s. but he wasn`t even home. We had lunch with Hna. Diaz. She
made us french fries and rice. She also prepared an amazing salsa. We
were g oing to visit a referral with a member, javiera, but she never
showed up. Elder Corliss called in the evening, to check up on me. He
really is a caring and considerate friend. His hijo says he wants me
to be his comp. Elder Corliss says he`s worried he`s not being a good
trainer, even though he`s working really hard. He`s awesome.

Thursday: today was awesome! We had, like, 3 apts. set up for us and I
was excited. I got up and had oreos with milk for breakfast (don`t
look at me like that) as I studied. I`m reading in Helaman 5 . I read
a quote by Pres. Kimball. He aske dwhat`s the most important word in
teh whole dictionary? he suggests it is "remember." I think so, too.
`cause when you think about it, covenants are the most imporant
thing...out of everything. They`re our ticket into the Celestial
Kingdom. We HAVE to stay faithful to them. but I also felt kind of
bad, `cause history just doesn`t yank my chain, if you know what I
mean. Anyway, things are still going well with Elder Brady`s change.
He`s getting up earlier and studying. He`s using his study journal and
he started Spanish study on his own, reciting the first part of the
First Vision before moving onto the next. It was very heartwarming. We
had TONS o ffrench fries, with Hna. Soledad, for lunch. SO GOOD!!! She
really likes having us over. Something great that Elder Brady did in
the afternoon was say, "Let`s go to our appt." I had been trying to
muster the motivation to say the same to him. He`s starting to help me
out. All 3 of our appts. fell through, and I was sad. the last was a
referral from a youth in the Branch, Javiera. But we had a miracle
when we got home. Apparently, the other missionaries had been stopped
by a member in a car with his family. They just moved here, from
Santiago, and he has 2 sons he wants baptized! :O One`s 12 and the
other`s 8. The wife`s not a member, either, and she`s indifferent, so
we may be able to work with her. The Lord has blessed us with the
tender mercies because we`ve been trying so hard. Also the zone
Leaders say we should think about baptism so much, that we dream about
it. I tried last night, and got close. I dreamt I was swimming in a
supermarket. Hey. There was water. That`s close.

Friday: Today was a good day. everythign just seems better since both
elder Brady AND I have been trying our best. I had my personal study
in Helaman 5 again. It`s the part where Nephi and Lehi are stuck in a
prison with a bunch of bloodthirsty lamanites...Oh and there`s a cloud
of darkness, and a pillar of fire, and an earth-trembling voice.
Anyway, the Lamanites ask, "What can we do, so that this cloud of
darkness may be removed?" One of the nephite desserters says they
should call to the voice until they have faith in Christ. From a
symbolic standponit it gets interesting. A cloud of darkness, in
Lehi`s dream for example, usually means temptation or something that
keeps us from God. And I`m sure "Ccalling to the voice" doesn`t imply
something empty and impersonal. They had a purpose: have faith in
christ. they needed to TALK with him. When they had all done that,
they were surounded by PILLARS (plural) of fire. It wasn`t one big
one. They each had a personal connection, through the Holy Spirit, to
Heavenly Father. Just like each of us do. Pretty neat, I think. Elder
Brady not only let me teach him grammar, but he was excited for it. I
hope he can change. He needs more light in h is heart. We had lu nch
with the Branch Pres`s wife. I feel great when I go over there,
becasue she used to be really grouchy, and now I just love seeing her
face light up when she talks with me. In the afternoon. I went with
elder Smith to take out money, so he could pay me back, as well as
accompany him to his haircut. We were going to have an FHE with Hna.
Soledad and her husband, but she cancelled. We improvised and did what
we always do with free time: contacts.

Saturday: Today was really hard for some reason. I just felt really down

Sunday: I woke up this morning in a fit of depression. Things have
been going better, and yet I feel as if I`ve been failing more. I
don`t know. I completed 21 months today. I remember meeting lots of
people with that time, and thinking they were so close to the end, but
I still have 3 months left. But even still, I`m pretty dang close to
the end and it`s kind of distracting. We met with the Branch
Presidency in lieu (ya like that word?) of Hno. Neira, seeing as how
he was out of town. he was nice enough to call me 10 min. before the
meeting to let me know, as well as to let me know I`d be teaching
Sunday School today. Lovely. It actually went pretty well. It was on
the "Fall of Adam and Eve," something I`ve studied a lot in the
Mission. But the coolest experience of the day was when we were
sitting in Sacrament Meeting as the bread was being passed. I was
thinking of all the things I wanted to do better on, when all of a
sudden I heard a very distinct voice in my thoughts that my whole body
heard, "I forgive you." There haven`t been many times when I`ve
identified the Spirit as a voice, but this was one of them. and it was
the greatest feeling to know that I could put my mistakes, regret, and
pain on the Atonement, and to know that Heavenly Father and Jesus
Christ not only know me personally, but that they love me in spite of
everything I may do wrong.


Monday: Today was awesome. I woke up at 7:30 and got paked and ready
to go to Concepción. I`ve had to bring my passport to the office for a
while, and I totally spaced. Elder Walker, the Secretary, called me on
it when we arrived. I travelled with Elder Corliss and his hijo, Elder
Butterfield. On the way up, Eloder Corliss and I just remenisced about
a lot of things we did together. Let`s just say 2 1/2 housrs passed
quickly. We have a meeting in Concepción tomorrow, but we came a day
early so that we could say goodbye to Elder Hall. He was REALLY
freaking ou t. He said he`s anxious, and confused about how to feel. I
teased him about all the different ways he can look at it. One of the
Sister Missionaries, Sister Eggbert, said that even though she has
less time left than me, she`s not as trunky as I am. Wow. I`m not
trunky, and Elder Corliss totrally defended me. But she looked at me
like I was sinning. Wonderful. We had lu nch at the new Subway they
built. NOt worth it. We replaced Elder Diaz for Elder Butterfield, for
the Meeting tomorrow. We had to wait in the office for a while before
going to write the family. Mom said Daddy`s cold has turned into an
infection and that he bonked his head on Uncle Doug`s new truck. I`m
so worried for him! I just want some good news. Pres. gave us
permission to visit someone from Hualpencillo. He also thanked me for
being with Elder Brady and sticking it out. Elder Pliler said I might
be asked to train again, next transfer. I think that`d just be the
best. We spent the evening with the Cruz family, being loved and
loving back. Then, we spent the night with Elders Mendenhall and
Jackson. They`re really close friends of mine.

Tuesday: This morning was cool. WE all got up on time and did
exercises. Elder Mendenhall was really impressive. He rean 3 km and
then did "ab-ripper X" with me. That HURTS! Haha. I didn`t last long
at all. But after that, Elder Mendenhall kept going and worked out
with his arms. He`s a stud. I can`t wait to swiom. That, I can do. We
eventually had to leave to our Meeting in the church. we`re realizing
that the number of baptisms is going down as a Mission. We`re all
working hard, but the Asisstantsand Pres. want us to be able to work
more efficiently, being able to do more. We didn`t really learn
anything new. They just helped us realize that our focus shouldn`t be
on contacts or referrals, but that all of the other things help us
baptize more people. We practied finding someone`s doubt and solving
it. I was the Investigator, being taught by Elders WAlker and
DeGracie. I swea, they spoke for, like, 5 min. before they asked me a
question. They would just talk AT me. It wasn`t too productive. But
ewhen they started asking questions, trying to find out where I was
standing and they were able to progress and stuff. I got to see Elder
LIsonbee and Elder Burch. They`re so great. We travelled back home.
Today was elder SMith`s b-day. Elder Maldonado and I went and got him
a Raspberry-chocolate cake. mmm. Yesterday, I oculdn`t write my family
for the full hour. So I did, today! I chatted with Cass and Dev. Cass
said Mom`s been going easy on me. Apparently Daddy has one lung that`s
"dead." Cass said he can recover, though. I certainly hope so.

Wednesday: So, for the first time in 61/2 months of being a District
Leader, I didn`t have to prepare a class for my District Meeting.
Usually, Elder Smith doesn`t pay attention, claiming he already knows
it. So I gave him the class and it was really greatifying to see the
enthusiasm with which he taught the class. It had been a while since
he`s had it. Before the District Meeting, while we were together as a
Zone, Elder Coprliss asked if he could borrow a marker. I gave him
mine. As we started our Meeting, I realized he needed it for his
meeting., instead of jotting something down. I said sorry for having
mislead him, and Sister Eggbert (the one that called me trunky on
MOnday) said to only say sorry if I mean it. Duh! That`s why I said
it! We had our class and went home. On the ride home, I was really
concerned with how Sister Eggbert has been treating me. I mean, I`ve
been nothing but nice to her, in the whole 2 conversations we`ve had
in 3 months. I barely know her. Elder Smith says she likes me. Ha!
yeah, right. If she takes another swing at me, I think I`ll have to
confront her. We had some really yummy noodle soup with beans and
longaniza for lunch. The other missionaries had their first
appointment with their investigator who showed up to church by
herself. It`s their 3rd Investigator that they`ve had, that has come,
ready to be baptized. I want to be a fruitful missionary. It`s been 6
months since I`ve baptized. I know success isn`t measured by baptisms,
but I want...something. We met Manuel yesterday. He invited us back
today, and we taught about baptism. He said he doesn`t want anything
to do with that, that his Pastor said he`s already saved. I know I
cand do better, but I just want a little help.

Thursday: today was a good day. I woke up and had my personal study. I
also read Elder Scott`s talk, from this past Conference, about
Scripture study. He said that memorized Scripture passages can be like
close friends that will always be there to offer comfort, strength,
and guidance; and they won`t fade over time. It`s our connection to
Heavenly Father for the things we need. These days, I`m preaying my
hardest for Daddy`s sake. I love him so much. I think this is one of
the few times I`ve had to dependd on my faith so much--trustin gthat
everything will be alright. We had lunch with Hna. María Rivas. She
made apple/orange/ chirimoya juice. We did contacts for a while,
before Elder Maldonado called and asked if I`d go to an appt. with
him. He said Elder smith didn`t want to go. So I went. We stopped by
Hno. Riffo`s house and had him accompany us, because we were
visiting his daughter`s in-laws. The investigator`s name is Sergio.
I`ve got to say that it felt good to teach again. I mean, REALLY
teach--with a companion and everything. I`ve realized we haven`t had
investigators because I just can`t do this on my own. I`ve had 3
months (almost) where preactically nothing has happened. Pres. asks me
to be patient. I thought I was, but iot`s getting harder. I find
myself wanting more, but I guess that`s the first step: recognize that
the impatience and wanting is there. I`ll be better. We had the weekly
activity night and Elder maldonado went to the bathroom in the church.
all the Neira family tried to tell Elder Smith to be with him. He said
no. I know he`s right. the manual said we don`t have to accompany our
comps. to the bathroom. But he was pretty impolite to Madelyn and her

Friday: Today was pretty uneventful. I did have a really good time in
personal study, though. I read Pres. Monson`s talk from the last
conference called, "Stand in Holy Places." He spoke about moral
standards an dhow the world has totally lost it`s moral compass. When
God`s prophet calls the world out on things like that, you need to sit
down with yourself and see how you`re doing. I`m so grateful for
coming on my Mission and havin gthe Spirit in my life. Pres. Monson
says that there is NOTHING that brings us greater joy in this life. He
aslso spoke abou thte special relationship we can have with Heavenly
Father, through daily prayer. I think that was a little bit of
inspiration--the fact that I chose that story at this difficult time.
We had lunch with the Branch Pres`s wife. When I explained about
Daddy`s situation, she told me to pray as well. I AM feeling better,
even now. Like, no matter what happens, everything will be alight. I
guess I can`t be selfish to demand to have what I want over what
Heavenly Father wants. We met a really nice woman today named Karen.
We chatted with her, and found out she doesn`t feel like she knows
Christ. She said we oculd come by another day, to help her. In the
evening, we visited Hna. Soledad. She seemed to be doing better. We
just had a nice visit.

Saturday: Today was a great day. I read General Conference talks in
the morning. I really liked one by Sister Elaine S. Dalton. It was
called "Love Her Mother." It was for fathers who needed more help on
how to help raise their daughters. Her counsel, obviously, was to love
their wives, and she said how to do it. I feel like I`ve changed a lot
in the Mission. For example, I find every possible chance to love
people, but it`s been so long since I`ve even considered anything
romantic. Romantic was all I aspired to be, before the Mission. but
that`s only part of it. I`ve learned that righteous actions also have
a large rold in everything we do. Things like dligence, hard work,
honesty, REAL love--charity (being able to see people as who they
really are, and loving the bad as well as the good), patience, and
being able to accept the Lord`s will in all things. That came out of
nowhere. I`m grateful for revelation. See there? The Lord just helped
me see that I`ve learned really good things. I can remember specific
instances when I learned those attributes. I treasure all of the
opportunities I have had, to be able to progress. I`m feeling the
Spirit so strongly right now! I know Heavenly FAther loves me, and
that all of my life has a Plan, and that it`s for my happiness. As I
become aware of the happiness that the Spirit can bring, I am trying
to encourage Elder Brady to be better. But he`s just getting angrier.
I went with Elder Smith to a downhill biking event (with Pres`s
permission). We worked extra hard during the week so we could have
time to go. It was free. They had some really good riders. In the
afternoon/evening, we cleaned the Chapel.

Sunday: Toiday was a vbery good SAbbath Day. We started it out by
going to our correlation meeting with the Branch Mission Leader. Elder
Smith and his comp. weren`t ready on time, so they weren`t there. So,
we got chewed out for Elder Smith`s actions on Thursday. Hno. Neira
also told Elder Brady to stop looking so darn depressed all the time,
and to start studying Spanish. Elder Brady continued to stare blankly,
unaware he was being spoken to. It was 5th Sunday, so we started out
with everyone together. Pres. Rojas put a black dot on the otherwise
blank whiteboard. He asked us what we saw. A lot of people said, "A
black dot." He asked if we wouldn`t rather like to see all the white.
He said, "Sometimes we see only the black dot in our Brothers and
Sisters, instead of the vast white background." I realized I may be
one of the "spot" people, so I think that`s something else I want to
work on, for myself. An RM asked, "If you had a child on a train
track, listening to their headphones, and they couldn`t hear your
shouts of warning, would you leave them there saying, "Oh, they have
their agency?" Or would you take their earbuds, pick them up, or take
some other action?" It was a good example of good parenting skills
I`ll keep forever. Judging from yesterday`s entry, as well as a lot of
times in personal study, I`ve found that writing=revelation. If we
aren`t writing, we aren`t learning. Same thing goes for school. We had
yummy tomato pasta for lunch. In the afternoon, we got a call from a
member from concepción, who was visiting here, and asked for a
blessing for his mom. We met up at the church. The mom recently had
her leg amputated, and she had a foot-long stick coming out of her
neck (she never explained it). In the blessing (for a head and tummy
ache) I gave her, it sounded like I was preparing her and her family
for death. That`s a first. I hope everything goes well.


Monday: Today was a wonderful Pday. I was the first one up, and I just
walked through the apartment, enjoying the feeling of nothing to do.
We went to write the family, but my family hadn written me yet, so we
planned to return in the afternoon. Hna. Pinar wrote me and says she
misses me and that it`s not the same without me there. Fernanda told
me it`s her mom`s b-day this Sunday, and that I HAVE to call. :) We
discovered that the 4 of us are almost out of cash, and the rest of
our moeny is on our cards. The buses to our Meeting only take cash,
and I have enough for my comp. and I to make the trip there. It`s
scary because the only ATM in the city is closed. We returned to
writing the family, and found out that Daddy now has a cold. My
favorite email was from Cassie (friend). She worried about me, and, to
comfort me, she used a Scripture I shared with her...a YEAR ago! She
remembered! She wanted to open her b-day letter so bad, that Tina had
to take it away. My hijo threatened to do the same thing when I got my
b-day letter from her. We did contacts in the evening, and had a good
time talking with people.

Tuesday: Alright, so today was the best day I`ve had in 2 months. Oh!
I`m so happy. I`ve been so focused on the principles of sacrifice and
Go`s love for us, lately. today, I finally was able to put them into
practice. In my District Meeting, I had everyone analyze the
"Christlike Attributes" in PMG and choose their weakest one. Elder
Smith and I tied for "Diligence." My next-worst was patience. This
week, we`re all going to improve our attributes and become real
disciples of Christ. I`m really worried about Elder Smith. He`s too
casual with the Gospel, and laughed at me when I tried to motivate
them to be better. We had french fries with Hna. Soledad for lunch.
Yum. Elder Smith started to annoy me with inappropriate talk, and I
then got upset at myself for not being patient with him. So I tried
better, and got better. we started a fast for a greater desire for
good and for Daddy`s health. We were heading out to do contacts, and
Elder Smith was saying somethign contrary, but my comp. said, "I want
to do contacts with Elder Merrell!" I was so happy for him! We set an
appt. with our first contact. Our last contact (Diligence PWN!) was
really special. He was a drunk kid, but we were able to "astonish"
(Matt. 7:28) him. He kept asking about 2012 and the end of the world.
He also admitted he was smoking and drinking. He wasn`t sure if he
should follow God or tuck those beliefs away. I asked for the Lord`s
help . I had the impression he was nervous of being held accountable
for sins. I taught him of being able to repent, be baptized and
receive a remission of those sins. Then, he was really interested. It
was like a switch had been flipped. He invited us back for another
day. I`m grateful for the Lord`s help with me and my weaknesses.

Wednesday: Today wasn`t as productive as yesterday, but I was still
able to learn a few important things. I`ve discovered that I really am
happier when I choose the right. I`ve gotten much better at
recognizing the Spirit`s promptings, too. I realized that most times,
when I don`t choose the right, it`s because I stop and think, "Oh, but
this other thing might be fun," or something. But it`s like in one of
those shows where, objectively, you know everything that`s going on
and what the character should do. You know what he needs, but he still
chooses wrong. I figured I know what I need and what will happen if I
don`t do it. So, I`m not even going to consider following my own
desires and passions when I get a prompting. If the Spirit says, " "
that`s what I`m going to do. I was reading some conference talks. One,
by Elder Uchtdorf, taught me another lesson. Pride is one of the most
dangerous sins. It`s about competition. There are two extremities
Satan uses to attack: making us feel more important than otheres, and
making us feel less important and feel alone. But the solution to both
of those is selfless/humble service (Mosiah 3:19). I love being able
to help others. We had lunch with the Llancapan family. I bought a
choc. bar for Hno. Llancapan`s b-day. Afterward, I searched our map
for 45 min. trying to find our contact`s house for our appt. We never
found it, and that means we never showed up. Dang it! Wep re still
trying to be better missionaries, though. I hope Elder Brady can
change. It seems everyone`s apathetic in this house but me.

Thursday: This morning was normal: Elder Maldonado and I were up while
the other two alept. Haha. It`s kind of sad. When Elder Arjona called
he had some important announcements. The biggest one was that Elder
Hall`s going home, on Tuesday, because of his sickness. Elder Arjona
wants everyone who can to meet with them, in Concepción to say
goodbye. I spent the next hour coordinating with the other District
Leaders, so Elder Hall wouldn`t overhear. I asked Elder Arjona if he
knew his next comp. He said no, but it would be really weird if one of
us from Curanilahue became his comp., but he`d find out on Saturday.
Elder Corliss said I+ d hate him for not telling me something, but I`d
find out on Saturday. He thinks I`ll be zone Leader. Ha! I guess we`ll
see. We had lunch with Hna. María Rivas. She always makes home-made
cherry juice. It`s sooooo good, especially after being in the heat for
so long. We had an appt. with a young man, John, we met the other day.
I went with Elder Maldonado, so I wouldn`t have to teach alone. John
wasn`t home, so we knocked doors on another street for a few hours. We
got one appt. with a lady, Veronica. We found an inactive member that
has baptism-age children that aren`t baptized. his name`s oscar, and
he`s really nice. We had our weekly game night with the ward. We
played soccer and tennis. When we got home, Pablo called me. He`s been
in Santiago for a few weeks. He said he has a friend, Catelín, who
wants us to invite her to church. I told him we`d go by tomorrow.
Tender mercies of the Lord are wonderful.

Friday: Today was a good, if uneventful, day. Actually, Elder smith
told me of some disturbing news. Apparently, there`s a bill being
passed back home, that will outlaw internet copyright
infringement--for media, information, etc. I didn`t think much of it
until he tol dme that if it gets passed we could lose websites like
Google, yahoo, and wikipedia. This is huge! Elder Smith and I went to
lunch together. Today, the Relief Society had a party at the city
pool. So we walked out there to pick up our bagged lunch and then
walked back. As we walked, Elder Smith told me how public gymns work
and how great they are. He taught me a little about weightlifting,
too. we had peeled potatoes with a lettuce-tuna salad. We bought a
completo to help it go down easier. Elder Maldonado went out with me
in the afternoon. We went by Catelín`s house, so we could get to know
her and invite her to church like Pablo asked us to do. But her dad
came out and told us she works in Concepción on weekdays, and that
we`d have to return tomorrow. He wasn`t that cordial with us, but
we`re going to come back anyway. We found, in a newspaper, that
"megaupload.com" was closed yesterday. Since that`s where most of
Chile gets it`s music/any media, it was pretty big. If the bill does
go through, and we can`t use google, then college is going to be very
hard. Holy Smokes!

Saturday: Today was a productive day. WE got up and did our workouts
and studies. Elder Maldonado aske dme if I could beat his push-up
record. I did, and then Elder Smith beat me. That`sfine. I built for
moving and jumping and stuff. I went out with Elder Maldonado, in the
morning, to visit some of his old contacts and try and help them
progress. wE didn`t find any. and we had to climb a staircase of...I
don`t know how many stairs, but we went up a 1/4 mile. Whew! We had
lunch with the Riffo family. wE found out that the 60 year-old brother
has been working 18-hour shifts for a week, (4 PM-10 AM) and he still
comes to church! After lunch, he put on a serious face and said,
"Don`t get me wrong Elders, we`re happpy to have you here. Very happy.
But--" Right there, I thought he ws gonig to chew us out for
something, as a LOT of people like to do in this country. But he said
this, "Please forgive us for not having more." He actually thought we
cared about that, and wanted to serve us more. This brother is one of
the best examples of Christ-like humility that I`ve seen. Elder
Corliss had told me a story of a peasant boy who saw a man standing by
a shiny car. He asked the owner if it was his. The man said he`d
bought it for his brother who wasn`t doing so well. The boy said, "I
wish," and the man thought he would wish for a brother to buy him
things. But tears came to his eyes as he said, "I wish I could BE a
brother like that." I`m going to try and be like that for my family.
We couldn`t find Catelín. We were walking around. We passed an old
lady on a park bench, and her smile was sweet with a little bit
of...hope(?) in it. So I turned around (imagine that image of a
missionary doing a 180 on the sidewalk to talk to someone. Weird) and
spoke with her. He rname`s María, and she and her husband would love
for us to visit them. In the evening, we cleaned the Chapel. Then I
helped Elder Brady prepare for the talk that he has to give tomorrow.

Sunday: today was less than awesome, but still ended well. for our
class in Priesthood we had to have read "Counsel for the Youth" by
Boyd K. Packer. It was a rally good message from the last conference.
He said that even though bad, scary things may be happening in the
world, IF we heed the promptings of the Spriit, we will be protected.
That`s a huge promise. He said that "hearing" the voice of the Spirit
is more of a feeling. Elder Brady did well on his talk. We had lunch
with a part-member family. I didn`t know that. When Elder Smith
introduced himself, I said, "He had the second vision." The non-member
21 year-old said, "What?" Realizing he wasn`t a member, I quickly
said, "What?" like I hadn`t heard right, and moved on. In the
afternoon, I asked everyone to help clean the apartment for Elder
Corliss and his comp. that were going to be staying with us tonight.
No one helped for a while. Elder Smith and Elder Brady joined later.
We had to take the clothes today. I asked Elder Smith to wait for me.
He walked right out the door. My comp. and I left later. They waited a
1/4 mile later. I didn`t speak `cause I felt like Elder Smith just
didn`t respect me and had not cared what I had to say. He even said so
when I told him what bothered me. He said that he hadn`t heard me aske
him to wait, and told me I shouldn`t be so sensitive. He called me a
baby and aske if I`d do that to my wife. He said I should grow up. He
just kept attacking, blowing the whole thing out of proportion. I said
nothing and couldn`t sto pthe tears. Elder Brady swore at Elder Smith
for the 2 months of bullying that I`ve endured from Elder Smith. (
hadn`t realized it for what it was). I cried all the way home and the
other two stayed to see the laundry sister. I didn`t want to be angry,
so I made Elder Smith`s be dand folded hi sclothes. He apologized when
he got home. Hna. Soledad asked to speak with us (Elder Smith and I)
in person, at 10 PM. She told us about a serious marriage problem that
she had(and it is serious). She doesn`t know what to do. I was like,
"Please, Heavenly Father, help me help her." I gave her som eadvice,
then a Priesthood blessing of comfort. She said she felt the Spirit as
I blessed her. I called my convert, Sabrina, and my Chilean mom, Maite
Millahual, to wish them both Happy Birthday.


Monday: Today was a relief. We woke up on time, and just relaxed until
the Branch Pres. arrived with the tennis net for us. elder Maldonado
was the only other one that wanted to play with me. but we still had
lots of fun. While we were there, the Assisstants called me. Elder
Tanner and Elder Pliler are the new Assisstants! They were my favorite
Zone Leaders when they were comps before. Anyway, they asked if I, or
anyone here, had a talent to share in front of the Mission at our
conference, on Wednesday. I couldn`t think of a talent that was
"showable." But Elder Tanner asked if someone SOMEHOW got their hands
on a footbag, I would be willing to share that. OH YEAH! Throughout
the day, I split up my Internet time, so I cold email and get a
response. It took a few tries, but mama wrote me back. She said
Daddy`s feeling muh better, with less pain, but there`s still a bit of
room to recover.I love mama so much. This must have been such a scare
for her. Later, I got a hold of Cassie (sister). It was cool to be
able to hear form her. NOw I know why she hasn`t written me: She got a
new email address without telling me. She said she`s still trying to
figure out her iPhone. I was able to teach her something she hadn`t
known before. WOOT! We worked in the evening. I`m feeling better as I
make the resolution to do my best, no matter who I`m with. Pres.
Swenson said times like this would come, and when they did, I`d have
to just keep going and to drag my comp. with me.

Tuesday: today was great. We go tup and ready to go to our distrizona.
I called the zone Leaders to ask if they`d bring some new planners. It
turns out they were in Concepción and had cancelled Distrizona because
Elder hall was really sick and had a Doctor`s apt. up there. I hope he
has a quick recovery. He`s a really good Elder. I finally got a color
code going for my new study journal system. I had fun having some
personal study. i trie to make a good suggestion to Elder Brady to
help with his Spanish, but he acted insulted and said practicing was
overrated, like being on time was, as well. In the afternoon, he said
he didn`t want to work, and that if I did, I`d have to go with Elder
maldonado. Wow. It`s official. I don`t know how to help him. I
admitted it to myself today: I`m depressed. I spoke with Elder
Maldonado. That helped.We went to visit their recent convert, Alvaro.
I wanted to teach him how to study well. We had a really great lesson,
and had the opportunity to give a blessing to his mom, who had a
horrible headache. They gave us ties, saying, "We got these for the
first two missionaries who came to give a blessing." They had so much
faith that we`d come, that they`d bought TIES. And the Lord did send
us. Elder Smith asked me to run some errands for him. I was so fed up
with him and Elde rBrady and I reacted in anger. But then I felt bad
and did it anyway. Elder Smith pointed out, the other day, that I`m
submissive. That`s his word for humble. I don`t want him to take
advantage of me, but I don`t know how else to be. I called Eldder
Lisonbee, to wish him "happy 23" in the Mission.

Wednesday: I learned so much today! We had a special conference with
our Area Pres./Seventy, Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge. Whenever he
comes, my mind pretty much explodes. Sister Corbridge gave a talk that
told us, "Decide to decide." She told us we needed to place lines in
our lives that we`ll never cross, and just create a pllan for our
lives. It was what I`d been praying for: a way to better resist
temptation. Elder Corbrige spoke about the relationship of two
opposites: He said the more we forget ourselves, the more we benefit
from it. Self-interest and selflessness. He asked, "What good having
the whole world would do you if you lost your soul?" He said life is
about learning good from evil and learning to make the best decisions.
Our greatest accomplishment, in this life, will be ourselves. "If
there is anything virtuous, lovely, of of good report, or
praiseworthy", we seek after THOSE things. Why? Because we become
them. We spent the afternoon learning how to teach better. It was a
really cool process, but I don`t have room here. Elder Tanner gifted
me a footbag, today! It`s so I can hav something to show in the next
talent show. I had an interview with Pres. Martinez while Elder Brady
spoke with Eder corbridge. I told him what bothered me and he gave me
encouragement. He thanked me for thi sservice and told me to have
patience. He said he wants 10 more missionaris like me. He told me my
hijo looks p to me and has me up on a pedestal. He actually called me
today, to cheer me up. He knows I`m struggling. Oh! Elder Burch and I
had a mini comp. study and practice because both our comps. hate
studying. it was so great to have comp. study again. It`ll be cool to
do it with my wife!

Thursday: today was awesome! We got up to go to our Distrizona
Meeting, but our bus never came. So, we had to go with the other
companionship. We arrived right before the openin prayer. After that,
Elder Hall gave me my "Trunky Letter" in front of everyone. I also go
tletters from Bro. And Sis. Duke, Sister Nibley, and my friend,
Miriam. She`s already halfway through with her Mission. She`ll get
home in September, I think. It turns out that the Senior Missionary
couple in our mission, are Sister Nibley`s Sister and Brother-in-law.
I had prepared a class on the Book of Mormon, but, the whole trip to
the Meeting, I couldn`t stop thinking about what we learned yesterday,
aout the process of a silogism: 2 beliefs followed by a conclusion. As
I taught, my mind was filled with ideas and I knew that`s what we
needed. We picked up our clothes before going to lunch. There, Madelyn
Neira asked for help scraping off paint when we finished. We spent the
afternoon helping her an dher sister scrape paint off the house of an
old non-member lady with only one leg. We had fun. I spoke with elder
Smith, which was...entertaining. We found that he and Madelyn clash
becuase their personalities clash. She did note, however, that out of
the four of us, I am the sweetest. That`s a plus. The YSA had a game
night, and invited us to come. We`d been working all day, so we did.
Thre was tennis, ping-pong, and basketball. B-ball was my favorite. We
played 21, and apparently my lak of skill and goofy behavior made
everyone laugh. It was a real spirit-lifter.

Friday (the 13th): today was REALLY hot. I got up and did my studying.
I finished Helaman 4. It was so sad to see all the bad things that
happened to the Nephites, as well as the things they lost. It was not
only due to their iniquity, but their lack of belief was also the
cause. How many blessings do we lose, in times of need, just becuase
we give up on believing? But Mosiah 8:16-18 tells us what we have, in
our time, to warn us of all the consequences of sin: a Prophet. The
conference edition of the Liahona just came out, and it`s sweet. We
left at 10:00 to go help Madelyn and Eileen scrape paint again. It`s a
HUGE project. Madelyn tol me of her dream of studying in BYU. Thinking
of BYU made me realize how close I am, to going home. I`m terrified!
What am I going to do? Going on dates again? AH! We worked until lunch
with the Branch Pres`s wife. We were going to work with Madelyn`s
brother, Ronald, who came home early from the Mission. I don`t know
why. Anyway, he cancelled an hour before we were scheduled to go do
contacts. It`s not that hot here (okay, maybe it is), but what really
affects me is how strong the sun is. It stings and makes me anxious.
Today was worse becuase, because of the heat, I got a really bad
migreaine. I tried to keep working, but it got to the point where I
couldn`t function and we had to come back home.

Saturday: today was a really good day. I really am grateful for my
Mission, specifically because of the chance I have to surround myself
with spiritual things, and, in turn, be changed by them. I want to
continu having personal study every day after my Mission. It`ll be
cool to do it as a family when I get home. In the morning, I went with
Eldder Maldonado to go get his hair cut. I almost did, as well, but
even though my hair`s long for me, it`s really not that long. so I`ll
wait a bit. Our lunch was...different. We started with a big soup
filled with some oysters. Yuck! I thought that would be it, but the
sister came back with peeled potatoes (not baked) and batter-covered
fish. It would have been normal, but it still had silver scales poking
thorugh the crust. Mmmm. In the afternoon, I was feeling depressed
again, but you know who came to my rescue? Elder Smith! He said for me
to come and do contacts with him. That did so muh for me. I didn`t
have to do all the contacts myself. I spoke Spanish with him. It was
awesome. we were able to speak with a gentleman, named Luis. He said
he had to go to a conference today, but he`d love to have us over,
another day. Tood bad we were knocking in the other sector`s...sector.
We did a quick stop by Internet so Elder Smith could see if his family
had sent him money. I`ve been covering for him for a week. But he
says he`ll pay me back. He`s good. I can`t wait to hear from my family
on Monday:

Sunday: Today was wonderful. I woke up to a phone call from Madelyn,
telling me her dad (the Ward Mission Leader) wanted to meet with us at
8:30. Today, we made it on time! During church, I received some very
special instruction form Heavenly Father. It just happened n the
middle of Priesthood. It was this: "We need to give up everything. God
did. He gave up the thing he loved most--his son. What is a good
sacrifice I can make? What can I give up, to e a better servant?
(Personal desires, impatience, entertainment, time, etc.) If I give up
my desires, God`s will replace them and I will be worthy of blessings.
Without temporary distractions I can be a better Missionary, and with
more work, I can be a better person." Everything in the world belongs
to Heavenly Father, except our desires /will. And that`s the one thing
he asks of us. We have to give up things that we may think are good,
trusting that we will, in the end, receive something great. It`s like
that story where the girl gives her pretty fake-pearl necklace to her
Dad, and he gives her a beautiful, genuine, pearl necklace. Sometimes
sacrifice is hard when you can`t see the results immediately. But that
promise will always be there (D&C 130:20-21). We worked in the
afternoon. Elder Burch called, and said he`s getting transsferred from
his difficult comp. this week, and he`s training! He`s been upset
because he`s still Junior comp.--but not anymore. He was so excited to
tell me, `cause he knew I`d be happy for him. I miss being around ice,
sincere people. Everyone in my house is cool, bu not that loving.
Elder Smith and I visited Hna. Soledad, to return a jacket she`d lent
me. She`s really cool.


Monday: Today was really cool. Elder Brady and I were the only ones
home, still, and we slept in. It was awesome. I studied fo ra while,
before he got up and we went to use Internet. Just for a bit, so we
could return in the afternoon `cause that`s usually when Daddy writes
me. I ended up chatting with Devin for a little bit. He told me about
his favorite games and books. We got completos with the other Elders,
when they got back, with mint ice cream for dessert. I`d missed it.
Nobody had written me, of the family. Elder Maldonado felt sick. He
asked if I`d go to the Apartment with him. I read for a while, until
sundown. But my lightbulb blew and I couldn`t read more. Smith and
Brady said they hand`t found anyone in their contacts. And so ends the
first transfer here.

Tuesday: So we got gas this morning. That means no more cold showers!
But my shower was actually too hot, and the controls were broken-ish,
so I couldn`t cool it down. I acutally missed my cold shower. Today is
the first day of the new transfer. I studied some more of Helaman 4.
Something I`ve always found strange is how often the Nephites and
Lamanites fight. It seems so pointless. In this part, the Lamanites
have conquered much of the land. But Moroniah (spelling in english?),
the Nephite general, "reconquers" some cities. I turned it into a
battle of good vs. evil, like we have in our lives and saw that we
have to be brave when the "bad" conquers parts of our lives, and
reconquer those parts. ALWAYS resist temptation. We had our lunch that
was really far, today. When we got home, I called Mirta, from
Hualpencillo. She wasn`t doing so well. Ever since we met her, her
father has been an instrument in the hands of the Adversary to hedge
up the way. Apparently, right before Christmas, he told MIrta she was
dead to him. She just barely turned 16! She got kicked out of her
house and is now living with her sister. But she said she had a happy
New Year`s. I felt so proud of her. She`s so optimistic. Always. I
shared a few Scriptures with her before telling her I loved her and
hung up. I`ll be praying for her. We did contacts and got into a few
houses, actually. In the evening, we played soccer with the youth.
Camilo, the recent convert, and Pablo, who got back from his
mini-mission, were there. Pablo said that Pres. Martinez adores me. He
said he talks well of all the missionaries, but he really likes me.
That helped me, especially because I`ve been feeling kinda like a
failure. Soccer was really fun. But now I`m super tired.

Today went well. We got up and waited for our undependable bus. It
didn`t show up on time. We eventually made it to our Distrizona
Meeting. We all had to introduce ourselves to the two new Missionaries
in Tirùa. I think my comp. has changed for the better in the six weeks
we`ve already spent together. In our District Meeting, he was
definitely participating more than he used to. We did a practice
lesson. I said we could do it in Spanish or English, and he chose
Spanish. He struggled for a big, but he didn`t give up, and I was just
cheerin` him on as hard as I could. I taught them about "The Vision of
Baptizing", a talk by Elder Corbridge. I tried to help them understand
WHY we baptize, and the importance of the remission of sins. I hope we
can see results soon. It`s been getting harder and harder for me to
stay strong. I don`t feel depressed, just tired of fighting. I don`t
want to be a bad Missionary. I WANT to be strong and make the right
decisions every time, but sometimes I`m not that strong. It`s like I
know the answer, but not how to execute the plan itself. Anyway, Elder
Smith and I went on an exchange to do a service project for Hna.
Soledad Rodriguez. Then we finished up, doing contacts. As we headed
to the house, we pooled our money and bought a big bag of mashed
potatoes. 32 servings baby!

Thursday: So, I completed 20 months, today.I`m in the 20`s! I know
that sounds like a lot, but I`ve still got 4 left (Devin!)--plenty of
time to work. I studied alone, until I had to report our numbers to
the zone Leaders. After I did that, Elder Hall asked me how I was
doing. Usually, I tell him I`m alright, but today I came clean. I told
him I`m tired and my comp. is dragging me down. Elder hall has been
Elder Brady`s Zone Leader all of Elder Brady`s Mission, so he knows
him. He asked if Elder Brady had progressed at all. I told him he
hadn`t. When I told Elder Hall all this, he said that it shows. I`m
losing energy. Anyway, Elder Hall said he`d write Pres. about our
situation. Elder Diaz, from tirúa, doesn`t have a cell phone, and
didn`t know the Meeting in Concepción was cancelled. So we tried to
cut him off in our city, but he wasn`t on any of the buses. Elder
Smith went with me. He and I have gotten to be good friends. He just
has a really strong personality and likes to be right. He`s totally
gonna help me bargain-hunt when I get back. After lunch, my comp. and
I did contacts for a while. Then, we tried to visit an inactive member
that Elder Smith had told us had kids that aren`t baptized. They
weren`t home. At night, we found out our oven works. So we made
brownies. It was a weak oven, so it took 2 hours. Hahah. it`s 12:10 AM
right now. But they`re delicious, so it`s totally worth it.

Friday: I got up, this morning at 8:15 `cause I left our phone (alarm
clock) in the other room and didn`t hear it. I got up and did my
personal study. I`ve never asked for an emergency transfer, because
I`ve considered it cowardice and going against God`s will. But I am
really getting close. During lunch with the Branch Pres.`s wife, she
aske dhow much time I have left. When I told her, she said she wants
me to finish here because I`m so happy. She confessed that she`s a bit
of a serious person. As I began giving her some advice, she asked me
for counsel with one of her neighbors. She feels like she`s losing a
friendship. It was interesting how the Spirit guided the conversation
so she could receive her answer. In the afternoon, I had to use email
really quick, and chek the class I have to give next week. But when I
looked, I found an email, saying Daddy`s in the hospital with blood
clots in both lungs. BLOOD CLOTS!!! LUNGS!!! I can`t function without
my Daddy. I just can`t. Mom said the blood thinners should take him
back out of the woods. I`m just really scared. We had an FHE with the
Neira family and a few other families. They hadn`t warned us that we
had the lesson. We taught the Book of Mormon and then watched "The
Testaments." I told Madelyn about Daddy, and she offered to call mom
tomorrow. that`s so nice.

Saturday: I had a really cool personal study today. I`m starting to do
the activities in the Seminary manual for the Book of Mormon that I
found. today, I studied pride, and why it`s sometimes called the
"central sin," and all the other sins that can come from it.
Thankfully, Helman 3:35 shows us how we can get rid of pride. It comes
from giving our heart to God. That`s what Alan and I are trying to do.
he`s so awesome! Madelyn called me this morning. She had a very soft
tone of voice, as if she didn`t want me to get hurt. She said, "I
talked with your mom, and she said that you need to remain calm when
you hear this--" I stopped listening right there. I started thinking,
"I don`t have a Dad anymore. What`s the family gonna do? That am I
gonna do?" And my heart was racing. But Madelyn rephrased it and said,
"You mom says to remain calm, because your dad`s out of the hospital
and recovering." I told her she scared the living CRAP out of me.
GAH!!! But I`m very relieved that Daddy`s alright. Whew! the place
where we use Internet has a girl, our age, who works there. she took
this week off because her dad died. I`m going to give her chocolate
and the Plan of SAlvation when she comes back. The 4 of us and her
chat when we go over. I think this is God, preparing her. I hoep she
can feel better. I can`t imagine how she must be feeling. I got a
glimpse, and it almost drove me crazy. We did contacts in the evening.
We got in a few houses today. There was on lady, Graciela, who was
really nice and receptive. I asked if Elder Smith would sell me one of
his Portable hard drives. He`s thinking about it.

Sunday: today was a great day. Well, mostly. Now that we finally have
gas, again, for warm showers, our water heater broke. It`s okay. I
only got one hot shower and I fount I didn`t like it as much. I guess
I`ve just gotten used to these showers. We were almost late to church
again, even though we`re two minutes away. Let`s see, nothing exciting
happened in church. After that, we had lunch with the Neira family. We
had barbeque meat again: beef and turkey, with an awesome salsa. While
I was at church, I fount out that Ayleen, a member of the family,
wasn`t feeling well..but I don`t know if it was emotionally or
physically. So I shared a Scripture from Mosiah 4 that says we aren`t
commanded to run faster than we are able, and that we should just be
diligent in what we can do. I f we do that, we`ll receive all the
blessings we need. It`s so amazing that he put all of the commandments
within the limits of everyone. Oh! And I was thinking about Moroni`s
primise. He invites us to ask if "these things are NOT true." Why not
ask if they ARE true? I think it`s because the latter is too easily
dismissed by most people. Can someone who doesn`t believe the church
is true prove that it ISN`T true? I think I just condemned myself to
dual-questioning everything for life. We finished our contacts today.
wE met our goal for the first time, and we got some new investigators.
YEAH! At night, we watched Elder maldonado`s copy of "The Errand of
Angles." In my opinion, it captures the real feeling of a Mission
better than "The Best Two Years." The whole movie, whe`s having a LOT
of hard times, and only a few happy times. But at the end, all she
remembers are the good moments. It was way cool.


Tuesday: Due to the fact that we gave up our Pday yesterday so we
could have our distrizona, we were allowed to do our Pday stuff today.
We started out by playing tennis. Last week I was pretty bad.
Seriously. this week, I got really good at serving. that reminds me of
a quote I read once: "Life is like tennis--he who serves best almost
always wins." that`s pretty cool. Anyway, today was pretty epic. Elder
Smith beat the 3 of us consistently. but I finally beat him in the
last match. Haha. It was the last match because I quit while I was
ahead. :) We went back to the house for a while before lunch. While
there, I finished my reply to Cassie. While I did that, elder Brady
went with elder Smith to write the family. Elder Maldonado went to
lunch with the Branch President`s wife. We arrived on time, expecting
to see the other 2, but they arrived 30 min. ate. Their taxi wasn`t
clear on where they wanted to go. Then I went to write MY family.
Kevin said he`s going to Bulgaria tomorrow. That sounds exciting. In
the afternoon, we were invited to play soccer with the youth, a common
thing in the Mission, but we were so darn pooped form this morning. So
we just did the normal contacting. We found a few nice people.

Wednesday: Today was a great day. When I got up, I decided to call
Elder Calaway. It had been a very long time since I`d spoken to him.
Gosh it was so good to hear from him. Actually, from our brief
conversation, I could tell that he`d changed a lot...for the better of
course. He`s always been someone just trying to do their best. We
talked about how weird it is that time the time has passed so fast. We
remenisced about the last time we got to call our parents. His dad had
answered and acted normal (i.e. "hey jake.") So funny! he said his
parents asked about me in the phone call. "Where`s Elder Merrell?" He
said they really like me. I had written them a letter, telling them
what a good boy they have. I forgot how much I love Elder Calaway. He
really is one of my best friends--someone I can count on. He said
we`re going to play a lot of xbox live when we get back. I miss him a
lot. He said he might be training this next transfer. I`m so happy for
him. It waws just one of those moments when you realize just how big
your heart is, and how good it feels to love. I put all my finished
letters I`d written in their envelopes. We had lunch with Hna. Daz.
She lives on top of a big hill that makes me sweat every single time.
We spent the afternoon doing contacts. We had an appt. but she wasn`t
there. I got a little discouraged. In one week, I`m almost certain
I`ll have another comp. I can`t wait to see how that goes.

Thursday: I had some personal study time and loved it. WhenI spoke
with the family, I got to have a one-on-one conversation with Cassie
(sister). She`s so good about reading her Scriptures. She says that if
she doesn`t read in the morning and night, she feels restless and not
as happy as when she does. I feel exactly the same way. Thinking about
it, she`s changed a lot. I remember at the beginning of my Mission, or
even as recently as this past Spring, she seemed a bit more confused.
But now I can see the Spirit influencing her life, and she can see the
joy that comes from it. That makes me so happy. I miss my family a
lot! We had lunch with the Neira family. They served us peeled
potatoes with roast. It`s a really common chilean dish. In fact, we
had it yesterday, too. In the afternoon, I went on exchanges with
Elder Maldonado. His companion`s causing him some problems, too. He
actually broke down and cried because he felt so bad for not having
been able to do good work this transfer. I understood that. The sad
part is I think he`s staying with his comp. one more transfer. We did
contacts in the afternoon. We had some appts., but they all fell
through. It`s shocking how little success we`ve had this transfer.

Friday: Today was a good day, but also a little sad. It was sad
because elde rKemp went home today. I KNOW, RIGHT?! I remember when he
left, two yars ago. For me, time in the mission passes normally. Not
fast or slow. But I believe that will change my last day, when I look
back and say, "Already?" I got a little taste of that today. Because,
for me, my Mission has always been looming in the future, it has been
the focus of my financial endeavors, and the bane of potential
relationships. but I literally only have a few months left before it`s
already over. But I`m not going to focus on that right now. Elder Kemp
served his Mission with excellency. I actually got my comp. to have
personal and comp. study with me. And he liked it! It was so wonderful
to hear what he`d learned and for him to want to share it. I learned
some great things in Helaman 3, myself. We had lunch with the Sister
that doesn`t season her food. But the food was extra good and she was
conversational. She sent us home with 4 giant loaves of home-made
bread. In the afteronoon, I got to interview Camilo for his baptism
tomorrow. He came to Church, on his own, our first week here. Since
then, he`s come to all the Young Single Adults activities and is in
the Branch Choir. He`s already a member, pretty much. The Interview
went great, for the most part. I had to fill him in on some doctrinal
points, because the other Missionaries had skipped some stuff. But he
passed. He`ll be baptized tomorrow, at 11. It`s funny because he`s
getting baptized in 2011 and confirmed in 2012. Pretty sweet!

Saturday: Today was a good day. We woke up really early so we could
run to the chapel and turn on the baptismal font., for camilo`s
baptism. Then, we came back home and studied and got ready like
normal. When we eventually returned for the baptism, we were really
diappointed with all the people that didn`t show up. There were 3
members and the 4 of us. 2 of the members only showed up because they
had to give talks. Elder Maldonado was chosen to do the actual
baptism. He kept complaining about hwo small the font was. As he was
bringing Camilo up, he guided his head right into one of the metal
handrails. OOPH! But camilo said he was alright and we ended fine.
Afterward, Ayleen Neira, a way cool youth from the Branch, asked if
she could speak with me. She thanked me for the Scriptures I always
share after lunch. She said that, out of the 4 missionaries, the
ScripturesI share always impact her and are exactly what she needed.
that`s proof that the Spirit`s guiding me. Sweet! We were going to
spend the night at the Diaz family`s home, but Hna. Diaz called at
7:30 to cancel. Dang it! So we just did the normal thing until it was
time to go in. Not a lot of success. We found out our transfers
tonight. the 4 of us, in curanilahue, are staying . I`m going to be
with Elder brady for 6 more weeks. That`s going to be really hard for
me. I called Elder Lisonbee. He`s going to finish in Yumbel, where
Elder Burch is currently serving. Elder Calaway`s going to train in
Ñielol, and share a house with Elder Montalban. Elder corliss is
training as well. And...the Pres ahs decided to re-open Tirúa. My time
there was really hard. I hope they have better luck. Elder Lisonbee
said he`s getting an iPad when he gets back. He`s excited to wach "The
Amazing Spiderman" at midnight with me, and use our iPads in the line
while we`re camped out. He knows me so well. :)

Sunday: So, it`s 2012. that`s the year I go home. that also means I
spent all of 2011 in a foreign country. That`s awesome! My New Year`s
commitment is to continue the good habits I`ve learned in the Mission
(i.e. Scripture study, daily prayers, keepng commandments, etc.). And
more dates with girls! I was behind on my quota last year. Haha. This
whole "New Year" thing is seriously freaking me out. Anyway, we went
to church alright. In the afternoon, I tried to study Spanish with
Elder Brady, and he asked, "Why?" His usual response to EVERYTHING.
I`m so frustrated. because of the new year, we`re starting the "Gospel
Principles" book over, hopping off the 3 classes we`ve been stuck on,
for months. We learned abou tHeavenly Father...and i learned
something! Or maybe it just "clicked." It is this: the more we know
God, the more we`ll love him. It`s something I`d been wanting to know,
in the back of my mind. Because if we DO love him more, we`ll have a
greater desire to obey his commandments. And if that desire comes,
we`ll have more power to resist temptation. But how do we get to know
God? Reading Scriptures, prayer, and keeping the commandments. It all
fits! The Neira family`s warming up to us, at our lunches. Oh! And I
totally finished my marking of the Book of Mormon where it mentions
Christ. It took about 3 months, but I did it! Not my whole "system" is
done. The other companionship got permission to go to Talcahuano to
visit some people. We just stayed in our sector and did contacts.


Monday: Today was a great Pday. I spent some time in the morning
writing back to Kevin. I like talking with him. I feel like we`re on
the same level. It`ll be so great to see him again. We started out the
day rather well, I think. Elder Maldonado got together a lot of tennis
equipment and invited some members to play with us, at the Church. I
remember being better at that sport. Everybody eelse was totally
kicking my can all over the place. But then I got warmed up and things
went more smoothly for me. After only 2 hours of sunblock-free fun
time, I turned bright red. Yay, Chile. We then went to write the
family. Mom sent me a bunch of pictures of home, which I loved.
Kevin`s doing well in Ukraine. We were going to have FHE with the
Neira family, but they cancelled on us. Ugh!

Tuesday: Today...I loved today. We got up early to go to our Mission
Christmas devotional. We got to see a lot of my friends, including
Elder Lisonbee, and Elder Kemp. Right before the conference started,
President and Sister Kemp came in, too. they both said hi to me. Pres.
Martinez gave them both some time to share their testimonies. As they
spoke, I felt such a strong Spirit of love come from them. The nwe
Missionaries introduced themselves, and I got to see my "grandson",
Elder Tholl. He had the best Spanish out of all of them. Then, we got
to see the MIssion slideshow. It was a LOT shorter than last year`s,
but my photo of me, posing like spider-man made it in. AWESOME! Pres.
told us we have a big influence on his kids. We had a talent show,
full of pianists and guitarists. Then, Pres. wanted to show us how
we`d influenced his kids. I thought his youngest daughter was going to
play the piano, but when Pres. called Hna. Eggbert up, I knew what was
up. Hna. Eggbert is famous in the mission because she can put her
whole hand in her mouth. So can Pres`s daughter, apparently. a lot of
good Missionaries are leaving this transfer. One Missionary said he`d
wanted to go home at the beginning of his mission. But Pres. Swenson
saved his life with one word: "no." I got chills when I heard that.
The Mission is hard, but it`s the only way to learn this stuff. I got
a letter from Cassie! It was sooooooooo awesome. She makes me so
happy. And WHO she is is so impressive. I`m proud of all she`s done.
Way to go, Cass!

Wednesday: Today was the same old, same old. We got up early so we
could go to our Distrizona Meeting. I usually go before the other
companionship, for my leader meeting. But today, the early bus never
arrived. So I had to go with the other Elders. I don`t think I`ve
mentioned this yet, so I will now. It`s been a week since we ran out
of gas. Now we`re taking ice-cold showers. This hasn`t happened in a
year. I think it`s because of the new financial system. Some sectors
need to travel more than others and they used to get more moeny for
that travel at the beginning of the motnh. Now we have to pay for
stuff and reimgburse it. that takes a few weeks. Anyway, everyone in
our hosue is too broke to buy new gas. It`s sweet. When we eventually
got on the bus, we found the lebu Elders, including Elder Corliss. His
comp. had to go home yesterday because he was really sick. I got to
teach my District about asking good questions that cause introspection
and can, at the same time, instruct. JUST LIKE THE SAVIOR DID!!! Very
early in my Mission, I realized this is one of the most important
skills and have dedicated a lot of practice to improving it. I read
something I wrote in the MTC, and the way I spoke was so different. It
was better. Some of the Elders I`ve lived with ahve been a little more
relaxed and crass, and I fear that I`ve become less concerned with my
language. I`m setting a goal to become closer to Christ, this week,
and through my life, through respectful speaking. Obviously, this
never happens in Spanish. so this is meainly to be a better example to
the others in my District. We had some appts. in the afternoon, but
they fell through. We met our goal of contacts, but we didn`t get any
news. BLAST! The Zone Leaders said next week the whole Zone`s gonna
come and help us find people.

Thursday: today was a good day. I woke up and did my studying and
learned hwo to better overcome temptation and sin by casting it out at
the first sign. a lot of studying can be way more effective if we are
aware of what we learned and make constant efforts to apply it to our
lives and make those changes that are the fruits of repentance. We had
our session of Weekly Planning in the morning, as well. While we were
doing that, I got a call from Edler Zuñiga, my hijo. they said
Scarlett will be baptized on February 25th, and that she wants me to
return to Los Angeles so I can baptize her. She`s so special. I hope
she realizes that. That news pretty much made my day. For lunch with
the Neira family, we had rice with steamed veggies and a wonderful
chicken breast. It was very well done. the weeks here are passing by
so quickly. We only have next week left of this transfer. That`s
crazy! In the Afternoon, we had to go on exchanges so I could
interview Alvaro, the other sector`s investigator, for his baptism
this Saturday. It was one of my favorite interivews. He really has a
testimony. He noticed the change between where he was at first and
wheere he is now. He feels a lot calmeer and like a burden has been
lifted. The whole purpose of the interview is to give them a chance to
testify before a representative of the Lord that they are willing and
ready to make a covenant with him. What a wonderful blessing that is.
Tomorrow`s Elder Brady`s birthday, so I got him a box of 30
bon-o-bons. They`re his favorite candy(try and imagine me getting that
information discreetly...it wasn`t. haha.). We did contacts for a
while in their sector while Brady and Smith worked in our sector. Well

Friday: Today was really hard for me. We just didn`t have that much
success. But I`m still good!

Saturday: So today was Christmas Eve, which, inChile, is way more
important than the actual Christmas day. elder Maldonado and I went to
the Chapel at 7 in the morning, to fill up the baptismal font for
their baptism. We came back and did the mnormal thing until 10, when
the baptism was going to take place. Elder Maldonado and I were going
to do a special musical number, but I really don`t know how to sing
harmony and we ended up cancelling it at the last minute. The branch
members are finally warming up to us and acting friendly. I guess
everyone likes a good basptism.And on Christmas Eve, too! Alvaro was
so happy, and not at all nervous. Everything went off without a hitch
(think about that saying. It doesn`t make sense). Last week, Hna.
Nidia assigned Elder Brady a Scripture to share for this week. He did
remarkably well. He knows Spanish. He`s just got to push himself.
because of the holiday, none of the doors we knocked opened. When you
think about it like that, especially in this season, I just think of
that picture of Christ knocking on the door. It`s pretty cool, being a
Missionary during Christmas. All of our contacts were done in the
streets and no one gave us their address. I called Hna. Roa, from my
last sector. She was doing well and sent me her love. We were invited
by Hna. Diaz to spend Christmas Eve with her family. Everyone eats
dinner at 10:30 here, and our curfew put some roast and potatoes in a
container for us. I called hna. Pinar, too. she was so happy to hear
from me. My hijo and grandson were eating dinner with her. I was happy
for my posterity.

Sunday: Today was so awesome! I`m so happy right now. It was
Christmas, today! Our meeting with the Ward Mission Leader was
cancelled. In church, we only had to go to Sacrament Meeting. It was
filled with talks by little Primary girls. The smallest one, who
looked like she was 6, gave a 10-minute talk about what she wanted to,
nothing written. It was a wonderfully impressive discourse.
Afterwards, we had some free time to ourselves before our lunch. We
went home and just relaxed, taking it easy. Eventually, we went to
lunch with the Lazo family. I had so much food that I couldn`t exhale
all the way. Haha. Then, we got to call home with a "video call!" It
was like another world, being able to see and talk with them.
Lindsay`s new home was all decorated and cozy. Everyone`s so excited
for me to come home. Cassie got a new iPhone 3GS. SO jealous! She said
she didn`t know how to use it, and I just had the biggest urge to just
drown her in geekiness. Devin has been stocking up on good galmes
while I`ve been away. He`s such a good padawan. Awww. That`s so great.
Mom said I`d earned a little "somethin`-somethin`" for when I get
home. WOOT! Mom`s super happy. She loves working in the temple...and
swimming...lucky. Haha. Goodbyes weren`t too hard, until Daddy. then,
for somereason, my eyes started sweating uncontrollably. It probably
looked like I was crying. And the air pressure (or something vague)
made it hard to keep my voice from shaking. I love them all so much.
Now I`m all emotionally numb, and stuff. Groovy.

Monday: Today was a great day. We changed things up, this week.
Instead of having Pday, we had our Distrizona, and here in
Curanilahue. Everyone came here, so we didn`t have to spend money on
travel. Everyone came here and we started heading to the woods. We
were also going to share about the Restoration. I helped those of my
District feel that burning desire to know something that Joseph Smith
had ( I find it interesting that, out of all the people that I`m sure
had their questions, he went on a hunt for truth. "I will go and do,
not sit and stew."). I then invited them to go out, into the woods,
and oepen their hearts to the lord, ask for help in their struggles,
and for answers to questions they`ve had. I personally asked to have
strength in my decision-making, being able to be strong and follow
through with what I say I`ll do. As we left the forest, I felt a
distinct peacefulness. I want to be able to help people repent and
change, and I can`t do that if I`m fonforming to them. that`s a cool
thought. we had a big barbeque lunch, with salad and soda. It was so
good, and there was a lot leftover. for the afternoon, we did
exchanges as a zone. I went with Elder Aizpurùa, from Panama. He`s
Elder Mcconnell`s son. Sweet, huh? The whole zone "attacked"
curanilahue, doing contacts. We found, like, o ne good guy. But he
wasn`t that receptive. Just relatively good. It was so stinkin` hot
today. In the evening, we traded back and we went to get some
breakfast for tomorrow with the christmas money mom and dad gave me.


Monday: Today, my fever was crazy. I woke up with a fever of 102.4. I
was getting kind of nervous. Physically, I just felt weak. Our first
activity of the day was to go to the Government building to finish the
process of getting my second ID. It was a possibility that I would get
arrested, so I bought a candy bar on the way, for nourishment. That`s
smarts, man. Luckily, the woman who was attending me was actually
working her first solo shift, and we didn`t have any problems. She was
actually really nice. On the way to use Internet, I didn`t feel good,
so we went home for a few hours. There, I laid down and tried to rest.
But I got..."hot flashes" is the best word I can think of. I`d be
shivering one moment, then Ii`d break out in a sweat the next. It was
awful. So I called Hna. Martinez to ask which meds. I should take. She
told me and told me to drink lots of water. We eventually left to get
something to eat. We entered at the same time as someone else. He
ordered 3 completos and 3 drinks. Then he gave my comp. and me one
each. He wouldln`t let us pay, either. How nice. Then, we found out
he`s a member from Talcahuano. We wrote the family after that. Kevin`s
opening a sector, over there in Ukraine. Alan`s just a stud in
everything he does. Daddy wants Dev and Cass to do what`s right. I
hope that I can be as good of a Father as he is. He just loves, loves,
LOVES his family. I went with Elder Smith in the evening, to have our
FHE with the Rodriguez family and Manuel. Manuel didn`t show up. We
waited for an hour-and-a-half. But Soledad Rodriguez is so awesome.
She`s my mamita for this sector.

Tuesday: This entry`s going to be a little shorter, because I was just
sick all day. We went to distrizona. Our Zone`s doing really well,
with their baptismal dates. I taught about How to Begin Teadching. We
went through the 10 points laid out in Preach My Gospel. Everyone
repeated the points, applying it to one of their Invetigators. I even
got Elder Brady to memorize 4! His problem isn`t a learning handicap,
it may jsut be a lack of mativation and maybe laziness. But with
enough encouragement and positive reinforcement, I think we can get
him going. But before the class even started, I just broke down from
the pain. Elder Smith went with Elder Hall to buy me some medications.
I spent the rest of the day in bed, pretty much. Elder Smith gave me
some pineapple ice-cream we had in the freezer.

Wednesday: Today was the same as yesterday, but with less activity in
teh morning. The good news is that my fever`s down to 100-ish and my
throat and ears don`t hurt anymore. so that`s great. I thought about
Alan today. I know it`s a day early, `cause TOMORROW`S his birthday,
but I found one of his emails I printed up. He`s so awesome. On
Monday, he invited me to work out and beef up with him after the
Mission. Totally going to do it.

Thursday: So last night, chile played against Ecuador and won. As a
result, the whole country took their cars to the streets and honked
non-stop `til 1 AM. We live next to the busiest intersection in town.
Ugh. As of this morning, we hadn`t done any work for the week, due to
my fever. I decided I would work today because 1) it needed to be done
and 2) I had cabin fever. So I got up and studied like I was supposed
to. We had lunch with the Neira family--barbeque again! it was so
good. Last week, Madelyn said I copied my "Scripture Shortcuts" system
and that others were much better. She just kept insulting me. But she
was better-behaved this week. her younger sister, Eileen, is a huge
fan of swimming and we got to talk about that. Madelyn is going to
BYU-I in April. She speaks English?! Anyway, we came home and made our
smoothie (OJ, pineapple sherbet, Kiwi, and apple). YUM!!! My comp. was
loathe to see his week-long vacation come to an end. We did contacts
for a while, before Hna. Martinez called me. She asked how I was. I
told her my throat and ears don`t hurt, but I still have a fever. She
said I still had to get my anti-biotics from elder Corliss in Lebu. My
comp´s out of money, so I took Elder Smith. we picked up the meds. and
some letters. I got one from Kevin and one from Elder Calaway`s
girlfriend. She was thanking me for the letter I sent her, telling her
hw awesome I think Elder calaway is. It was a good letter.

Friday: Today was a great day. I felt really good. I got up and did my
personal study (loved it) and all the usual stuff. Elder Smith
accompanied me to the store to buy a little bit of food. I got some
instant mashed potatoes, some milk and cookies, and more toothpaste.
We came back to drop stuff off, then we had to make the long walk to
our lunch. this Sister gave us unseasoned rice with unseasoned meat
last week. This time, we went with garlic salt. It totally did the
trick! the Sister doesn`t even sit at the table with us. In the
afternoon, we did some contacts--and we actually found some good
people. One guy, Leandro, is a dad. I asked him ho whe felt about
that. He said he loves it, and that it makes him happy. I got to tell
him that god has prepared a way for them to be together forever. He
seemed pretty interested in that. Another woman, Irma, was really
receptive as well. She said we coul dcome by next week. It just felt
good to be workin gagain, doing what I`m here to do. those times in
the Mission, when I`ve had to stay in the house, have just made me
feel bad...and restless. but working, just like obedience to all the
other commandments, brings a great measure of peace that I prefer over
anything. elder Smith and I went to use Internet briefly, so he could
coordinate his phonecall. After that, we had an FHE with the Llancapan
family. We read Alma 42 with them. and Hno. Miguel. their youngest
daughter, Ana, is a member, but inactive. We tried encouraging her to
read her Scriptures more. she wouldn`t commit. Are people like that
back home? Here, people won`t commit because they "might" mess up.
Well, that`s why we set goals, people. Anyway, we came home and I had
potatoes. Yum. My comp. won`t take part in the companionship, still.
It`s getting hard for me to stay motivated.

Saturday: Today was so awesome! I got up and got my studying done.
Elder Maldonado asked if I wanted to go by the feria, which is like a
one-ay-of-the-week street market. Everybody goes there, and sells whay
they want. I`m pretty sure that these wouldn`t exist if chile had a
health code. But it works for me. they had a ton of fruits and veggies
that were just so vibrant with their colors. But they also sell
miscellaneous stuff. Watches, for example. I got a watch with an
orange-and-black display. I was so anxious for lunch, today. we
decided we would call our families today, to set up our Christmas
call. It was SO AWESOME!!! Cassie answered the phone with Dev. It`s
going to be so great to be home, and do things with them. We talked
about a lot of things in little time. Gosh, I missed them. But I think
they`re more trunky than I am. They were already planning things we`ll
be doing when I get back. After the phone call, I was in a kind of
shock. I wanted more. I miss them a lot. But I`ll be with them again
soon. WOOT! We walked back from lunch, and worked until 7, when we
had a Christmas Devotional, provided by the Elders` Quorum. I liked
one of the messages, inviting us to live christmas on another level.
The first 2 levels are toys; decorations and the nativity; The 3rd
level is remembering Christ always and following his example.
Afterwward, we had refreshments. I love soda. There`s a pineapple
soda, KEM, that I just adore here.

Sunday: So this might be one of my worst streaks in the Mission. It`s
been 4 weeks here, in Curanilahue, and I still don`t have 1
investigator. I literally drag my comp through everything. I miss
having a companion that I can rely on. I`m getting tired. We didn`t
make it to our Meeting, today, because he didn`t get up on
time...again. Manuel, the guy that came last week, didn`t show up
today. The other Missionaries` Investigators are doing great. Alvaro
is going to get baptized this Saturday. I`ll have to do his Interview
this week. In Sunday School we`ve been doing the same 3 classes for
almost 3 months. It`s ridiculous how repetitive it is. I`m sorry. This
entry is really grouchy. I don`t know why I`m so on-edge. It actuallyw
as a gorgeous day. Most days are, here. It`s so green and colorful,
thanks to the yellow sunshine. It`s so great. We had macaroni-shell
spagghetti with a fried egg thrown on top. Typical Chilean dish. It
was delicious. In the evening, there was a broadcast from Salt Lake
City, showing the General christmas Devotional. Camilo, the other
sector`s investigator, went to see it. It was cool, because he got to
see the Prophet. Pres. Monson said that EVERY Christmas he reads "A
Christmas Carol" and "John Whitman`s Mansion." I`d never heard of the
latter. It`s a story of a man like Scrooge who had a dream of the
after-life. All the generous people got big mansions from their good
deeds. He had a little one because he never sent any "material." I
really liked that message. We played cards after the day.