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

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Monday: Today was the two-year anniversary of the big earthquake that
hit Chile. It hit just a week-and-a-half after I got my calling to
here. They were running a bunch of cool celebration/memorial programs
all day. they actually made a movie that airs next week. Elder Burch
and I left LA at 8:15 in the morning. We stopped by the office, for
mail, and I found I had my "trunky nametag" waiting for me. It´s like
a regular one, but under my name, it says "Misión Chile Concepción
Sur." You can order it during your last 6 months, but you can only
wear it during your last transfer. We switched back with our comps at
villa acero. My comp. said he´d missed me. That was surprising, but
awesome. We had lunch delivered to us. That was awesome, too. Last
week, the Mall burned down--along with all the gringo food:
McDonald´s, Pizza Hut, and I was looking forward to trying Burger
King. Not anymore :( We then wrote the family. Mama wrote me a poem,
´cause she knows I like them. I love her so much. Cassie /(sister)
sent me a photo of my plaque that´s hanging in the church, and said I
look old. That photo´s 4 years old! Daddy´s still healing. In the
evening, we were going to go with a Sister to pick up some Sister
Missionaries who were going to be travelling. But my comp. and the
gringa, who doesn´t have much experience with Spanish, had a
miscommunication. when I spoke with her, she said they+´d be
travelling on Thursday. The Sister, that was going to help, was Hna.
Barrigas. We had completos and she gave me advice on how to know if
I´m choosing the right wife: if she thinks the same as me.

Tuesday: Today was a great day. My comp. and I are getting along a lot
better, knowing what to expect of each other and dealing with it.
Elder Aparicio is laughing and joking more. It feels good, having
overcome such a big obstacle. I had a Spiritual experience today, in
my Personal study. I was reading my Patriarchal blessing for the first
time in about a year. There were two big things that hit me, but I´m
only gonna be vague in this writing. The most important thing that hit
me was a promise from the Lord, concerning my children, and when I
read that promise, and what it was giving me, a huge amount of peace
and comfort hit me and I KNEW that Heavenly Father knows me. He does,
and it just made my spirit sing as he spoke with me. It was very
special to me. It´s the same feeling as always, but I think it´s
interesting that those thoughts were placed in my heart--irremovable,
undoubtable. We had lunch in the house. We worked in the Afternoon,
but weren´t able to find our investigators. In the evening, we had a
meeting with the Ward Missionaries. We taught them how to teach the
Book of Mormon. I was surprised at the amount of info. we had to give,
regarding teaching methods. But they all di well. I called elder
Calaway, to wish him a happy "monthday." When I told him that was why
I was calling, he said, "I´m so jealous of your big heart." We both
laughed. He said he´s learned a lot in these few weeks as a Zone
Leader. I´ve been learning, too!

Wednesday(Leap Year!): Today was a good day. My comp. wasn´t feeling
so good, though. He´s been grinding his teeth lately, and one of his
fillings popped off, and now it´s hurting him. So, I got up and
prepared a class to give to the Zone. I decided to teach "How to find
the Lord´s Elect" based on the book Sister Tan wrote and gave to me.
When we got to our Distrizona Meeting, we felt we should change it,
and focus on teaching more lessons with a member present. It went
really well, and I got to share my experience of helping my convert
from Hualpencillo, María. I really like being a Zone Leader. I´ve just
felt like I´ve had a lot of good ideas, and now I can share them with
people, and they LISTEN to me. but, saying it like that, I realize I
have a lot to learn still, because I should be focused 100% on helping
THEM, not me. After lunch, we asked the Sister if we could visit one
of her neighbors. She was VERY reluctant, but we got a referral. Some
Sister Missionaries travelled here, from Victoria, tonight. they
didn´t know how to get to their Sector, so we arranged for Hna.
Barrigas to pick them up. when that was all set up, we went to visit
Aurora. She´s doing well, but not really progressing. We got a
referral from the Office--someone who wants to be baptized. WOOT!!!
But when we went by, his Mom answered and said he´s going to Santiago
tomorrow, for several months. Dang it! During lunch, my comp. told the
Sister that I was his favorite comp. I didn´t believe him until he
reaffirmed it in the evening. Thenm, I felt a whole lot better. It´s
definitely been an intense companionship, but it just goes to show
that when you talk things out, everything gets resolved just fine.

Thursday: Today was a good day. We went out to buy breakfast in the
mornign. I offered to buy for my comp. ´cause he doesn´t have any. At
the register, he said, "I´d help, but I lost my money last week." I
thought he was saying it out of spite for our incident last week. I
tried to defend myself, and he got offended again because he HADN´T
been sarcastic. He had a hole in his pants and had actually lost his
money! So we talked when we got home, and he got mad and walked out. I
swept the downstairs, and he said he wasn´t gonna eat the big amount
of food I´d bought (Most was what he had asked for), because if I´d
ahd the intent to share with him, I´d have prepared it for him. He
said I was a prideful gringo with lots of money. That made me cry
because I´ve been trying so hard to be humble. I read talks about
charity and optimism. I found comfort there. After lunch, we did a
contact and Elder Aparicio bashed with him. He was a Pastor. I made
the comment, afterward, that he was aggressive. When we got to the
house, he said we needed to talk...again. He asked what bothered me
most about him. I said that the fact that assumed the worst in me,
making him easy to offend. He nodded and surprised me by saying, "I
feel the same way about you." And he was right,. so I decided right
there to try better and put forth conscious effort to think good of
him. I told him 5 good things I found in him. Things got slightly
better after that. We planned out our plan to help our Zone in the
afternoon. In the evening, some missionaries arrived for oour council
tomorrow. Elder Tavernier, Elder Lisonbee´s hijo, is one of them. He´s
so great. I´m really tired now.

Friday: So, for the ipast two weeks we´ve been having daily tremors of
about 4pts. on the richter scale. It´s like your house is driving down
the freeway, hitting bumps in the road--but the whole city feels it.
We got up at 5:30 so we could p lay soccer as Zone Leaders of the
Mission. We had lots of fun. Then, we showered and changed before
going to the Mission Pres´s. home, for my first Zone Leader Council.
It was great! We spent a lot of time taking turns, explaining what
were some challenges in February, as wella s our plans for march. Our
focus, as a Mission, will be working with the Members, and I´m so
excited. right when we got back, we went to re-interview Hector from
Las Salinas. he´d smoked right before his baptism, last week. But this
eek he seemed a lot better. After that, we went to an FHE with Hno.
Maldonado, our WArd Mission Leader. There, he shared a VERY inspired
class. It was about saying nice things and not getting angry. He
shared 2 Nephi 2:27, which says we´re free to choose to DO good or DO
evil. Hno. Maldonado focused his lesson on choosing to SAY good or
SAY evil. But the Spirit confirmed to me that we can also choose to
SEE good or SEE evil in others. Hno. Maldonado shared 2 Nephi 4:27
which says we shouldn´t get angry. Matt. 12: 34-36 says that as a man
speaks, so is he. And, lately, I´ve been wondering if I should be more
bold, so I´m not picked on so much. But Hna. Maldonado mentioned that
Pres. Hinckley´s wife fell in love with him because he was gentle,
softspoken, and noble. I think I can work on the "noble" part, but it
brought peace to me, knowing that I don´t have to be a macho. At
night, Elder Aparicio shared 2 Nephi 4:26-32 and explained it was his
conversion Scripture. He cried from emotion, and I was grateful the
Spirit had touched him so.

Saturday: We got up this mornign and went to get some groceries. And
we did it without fighting. I had a good personal study. In the last
general conference, Elder Cook gave a talk called, "The Songs they
couldn´t sing." At the end, he quoted a hymn that said, "And Jesus
list´ning can hear the songs I cannot sing."That just struck a chord
in me. There was many times when I can´t express myself, or when I do
things secretly because I know jit´s the right thing to do, and I just
feel alone sometimes. But to know that someone KNOWS me absolutely,
even if I don´t, and loves me despite my shortcomings, is a huge
comfort. I also realized something about myself, today: I act and
think according to how the people surrounding me treat me. It´s not
really a good trait, but true nonetheless. Every time iI was around
Kayla, after she dumped me, I immediately became sad. I couldn´t avoid
it. When I was with Elder Zuñiga, I was the ibest I´d ever been:
happy, confident, funny, and outgoing. When I´m with Elder Aparicio,
even though we get along better now, I´m stiill kind of reserved and
don´t talk much. Sio I´m going to choose to surround myself with
people who make me happy when I get back. We had lunch with Hna.
Valdevenito. She said I spoke Spanish better than my comp. We visited
Tomás, and then dropped off our clothes. We spent a good chunk of the
night getting the numbers, instead of right after church tomorrow. the
Sisters in our Zone, Hna´s Oliver and Baker, are so great. They tried
to set up their Investigator´s interfiew today, but his wife, who´s a
member, stopped them. they were a little disappointed, so I gave them
a Scripture to read and they said they really appreciated it.

Sunday: Not a lot happened today. We got up and went to Ward Council.
There, Hno. Maldonado reviewed the MIssion Plan for the Ward, and the
parts that each of the organizations will play. It´s really great
because of the new focus the Mission is putting on working with
members. Hno. Maldonado has a lot of fire going for him, just pumped
up and ready to work with us. I haven´t been in many sectors with a
Ward Mission Leader this good. Eduardo maldonado (a different guy) is
absolutely hilarious. He makes me laugh every time we talk. Today, he
said if I ever come back to Chile, I HAVE to stay in his house. He´s
awesome. The class in Sunday School was on Prayer. It´s such a big
part of this work and real conversion. During lunch, I traded ties
with the 2nd counselor in the Bishopric for a sweet green tie. The
afternoon was kind of hectic, because we had to get a lot of info. for
the new form the Misison is using to report weekly. It´s online, so I
didn´t know what to expect beforehand. It took a while to work
through. We spent the Afternoon with Aurora. she´s not a member, and
she won´t let us commit her to things...yet. Right now, we´re trying
to get her trust and teach her correct principles. It´s working. She
comes to Church most weeks. She just needs to read and pray. That´s
all. She´ll get there.


Monday: Today was a good Pday. My comp. was so excited to sleep in,
that he did it twice. He jokingly asked if I´d get him breakfast in
bed. I did anyway. Haha. Then he went back to bed. I got the house
cleaned up,and read some chapters on how to be more creative. Word
play with synonyms and puns are a great creative exercise. I woke my
comp. up at 11, and we went to the office at 12. We hitch-hiked. We
turned it into a "mobile Contact." I didn´t have any mail. While I was
there, I got to talk with Elder Tanner. He said that after a
month-and-a-half he´s just barely having time to leave the office and
work in his sector, which is my old one, Hualpencillo. He said he met
with Hna. Soledad and that she just loves me so much. She asked if
they, the Assisstants, could arrange for me to have lunch with her
sometime.We´ll probably do exchanges on March 4th. That´ll be so much
fun! We went to write the family. Daddy´s almost completely better.
he´ll be off his blood thinners soon, which worries all of us, ´cause
we don´t want the bloodclots to return. Daddy said Cassie (sister)
misses me and loves me so much. I miss her, too. we got lunch at
Doggi´s before coming home.We visited Hna. Aurora and then Hno.
Marcos.Marcos had a court session today,and he saw that his wife just
hates him. He was a brokenman. I testified to him of the healing power
of the Atonement, and thepeace it brings. He called thebishop right
there, and set up an appt.for tomorrow night.

Tuesday: I think I´m starting to get the hang of handling my comp.
There are just lots of little things that he will or won´t do. For
example, he WILL ask me to do lots of things his way (don´t bother him
during personal study, teach by ear (the spirit) so we don´t have to
plan,etc).He WON´T do something for nothing. If I ask him to stop
doing somethign that bothers me, he´ll askwhy, prove that it´s okay to
do, and then accuse me of doing something worse. But it´s helping me
to be better. In the morning, we planned out our distrizona. We
dicided to challenge every companionship to put 3 morebaptismal
dates.Then, we taught them the process of working a Miracle. It was a
really cool study. The Zone was really excited. We´re trying to serve
the other Missionaries by repairingtheir homes. We went to the home of
the Missionaries in Talcahuano Centro. They live at the top of a
staircase that´s 2,582 (or around there) steps long. Ugh! We took
stock of what they needed and reported it to the Mission office. We
had lunch early, with time after, to rest.My comp. said he had a bad
headache.When we finally left, he got after me for not telling him to
go work. What would that have been like ? "Oh! My head hurts! I need
to rest." "Nope. Let´s work." yeah, that´s just asking for trouble. So
it was my fault we left late. We taught our 2ndlesson to Roxana. She´s
a bit of a slow learner. But once she gets it, it´s there. She
understands she needs the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and a new baptism.
She knows Christ´s church was lost. Today we taught about faith. She
feels she has weak faith. We promised it would grow through daily
prayer, Scripture study...and going to church. She was fine with the
first two. But "Church" was her buzz word, and she holed up.But she´ll
get there, I think. Then, we taught Thomas the Word of Wisdom and the
Law of Chastity. I´d never taught the Law of Chastity to a kid, and
found myself at a loss for words. My comp. took over, ask,ing, "Do you
know what the word "sexual" refers to?" I just slapped my forehead
with my palm. SUPER SMOOTH. We then dropped off our dirty laundry.

Wednesday: Today was really great, and ended really well. We got up
and both took our showers. My comp. ate some oatmeal before his
shower.It was funny because he didn´t want cold showers anymore. He
boiled some water and mixed it with some cold.Next thing I know, I
hear a shout fromthe bathroom.Not enough cold water, I guess. When he
finished, he said his stomach hurt from his oatmeal and he went to lie
down. I studied until lunchtime. I love personal study. I wonder if
I´ll like studying for College as much. I better! We had lunch with
some converts who just completed a year in the Church. they´re going
to get sealed this Friday! they´re so happy. they also just got their
Patriarchal Blessings last week. their name´s are pedro and Roxana. We
rested for a bit, before going to meet with the Ward Missionaries. We
then split up to go visit inactive recent converts. We visited a
Sister from Ecuador. She lives in one of the many sheds that the Gov´t
built for victims ofthe Earthquake. She´s inactive because someone
gave her a box of food to help her, along with an offensive message.
At least,she found it offensive. I´d imagine it had said something
supportive. She just came off rather prideful. Our Ward Mission Leader
was withme.he told my comp. to meet us at the Church at a certain
hour, and he wasn´t there. theBrother kind of chewed him out, and
Elder aparicio tried to chew HIM out. Eventually, we found out there
had beena miscommunication and all was forgiven. But as soon as we
were alone, my comp. got after me for not supporting him. So then we
talked THAT out. Imentioned all this successful arguing was really
preparing us to be good husbands.I told him every one of his comps.
has an attribute of his future wife,but that HE had to choose which
one to see.Of me, he said, "You´re really good at memorizing things."
*forehead-slap* I toldhim that didn´t count so he said,"Youreally know
theScriptures." Same vein, but I guess it´s okay. I said I like his
desire to keep improving, regardless of being imperfect.

Thursday: Today was kind of tough in the afternoon. This companionship
is really hard.I got up and was studying when my comp. got up. He
feels really bad for having slept in,so tomorrow we´re for sure going
to get up on time. I called the Missionaries in Los Angeles to see
what was thestatus on scarlet´s baptism. They said she´d just barely
passed her interview, and that she´d had to move it from Saturday to
Sunday, because she´d be travelling in Santiago.Well that´s great. So
I planned out all the things we´ll need. I´m going to have to pay for
my comp. ´cause he doesn´t want to pay for something he has nothing to
do with. We had lunch with an awesome family: The Varrigas family. the
brother is really funny, and the Sister´s food was SO good! while we
ate, their son alternated between his xbox 360 kinect and his PS3.
yes, the food wasn´t the only reason I was drooling. After
lunch,wepiocked up baptismal clothes for Thomas. elderKuhn, our
district Leader, did the Interview. it was his first one,and he did
great! :) After that,I got permission from Pres.to travel on Sunday.
My comp. and I had our biggest argument yet, and we resolved that,
too. So things are good. Keep us in your prayers.

Friday: today was a good day. Things with my comp. got marginally
better. I found out thatwhen he says things that are kind of rude, he
wants me to laughbecause he´s just kidding, even though he´s not. We
had lunch with an RM who is SUPER awesome. He got back from his
Mission to Bolivia a year ago.He got sealed int heTemple 6 months ago.
his name´s eduardo. he´s a real jokester. He was making fun ofme being
trunky, and of Eelder aparicio for not having half my tiem. I
teasedhim a little bit, too. Afterward, he said he wanted to see the
same smile I was wearing when I was messing with him, when he messes
with me. So I got a better idea of how to act. He got sick in the
afternoon, in the tunny, so we stayed in. I got bored. Later, we went
to Las Salinas to Interview their Investigator for baptism. It was my
first one as a Zone Leader. My comp. said it was tradition that i pay
for the bus farethere. Lame. I Interviewed an elderly man, named
Hector. He has some memory problems, buthe was eager to obey all his
commandments. Plus, his family´s member, so he´ll be alright. We had
our baptism at 8:00. Thomas had been waiting for this ever since he
turned 8. He´s such a good boy. His mom was so happy for him.
Everything got awkward when Hno. marcos, for whom his wife has a
restraining order, showed up. He was so desperate to see hisfamily.
the baptism went really well. thomas´s aunt gave an emotional message
afterward. then I bore my testimony. It started to rain, and Hna.
Raquel, Thomas´s mom, invited us to have some cake at their place. Oh!
I forgot to say that when I shared a Scripture with Hno. Eduardo after
lunch, he said it was just what he needed. Inspiration!!!

Saturday: today was a beautiful day. It was still raining in the
morning, and it set the temperature for the rest of theday. After our
usual study,w e bought more gas. Do you know what that MEANS?! I had
my first warm shower in almost 4 months!!! Oh my goodness, it was so
good. Here, we play with the Youth on Saturdays, so we can get some
Investigators. Because of therain, we endedup playing Ping Pong
inside. My comop. is really good.When we got back, we added more
minutes on our phone. Elder Aparicio asked how much I wanted to load.
I said $2. but when we got there, he asked the lasdy for $7 worth, and
asked me for another dollar (so to speak). When we got back, I wrote
it along with all teh other money he owes me. He saw I was keeping
track and got offended. then, I remembered I had cancelled lunch
´cause we were SUPPOSED to be travelling today. He said since I was
the one to cancel, I had to pay for lunch. I woouldn´t do that to
himm,and I asked him to pay for himself.when he refused, I suggested
he just pay from his debt and subtract from his tab. he got offended
again and paid me backabout $10 in the equivalent of pennies, and I
bought us lunch. then, a Sister called, telling us to come over,
andthat she hadlunch waiting. Itwas Hna. Varrigas. She´s so good. by
the time I finished THAT lunch, Iwas so full that I was sick. She
could tell and told me to lie down. Twice in a week. How embarassing.
Thenw e visited Aurora, our Eternal Investigator. We spoke with her
and her family. Then, we played a mini game of soccer in her street
out front. She´s a Grandma, and her grandkids were swarming, and it
was just fun. Then, we shared a Scripture and prayer.

sunday: today was amazing! I woke up and asked Hna. Raquel if she
could bring my memory card,which I´d left in her house, to church.
When we´d gotten to church, we were called up to confirm Thomas. I got
to do it. I was also called to bless the water. After Church, a Sister
told me that when I said the blessing, it was as if she was caught up
to Heaven. A little extreme, but very flattering. Daniel Guiñazú said
he´d felt a spirit that was higher than the usual. Eduardo Maldonado
is really awesome. He said he´d make a photocopy of his study journal
for me. We met up with Elder Burch and switched comps. I just love
Elder Burhc. He´s one of my favorite comps. It was a nice refresher
from how things have been. We had a nice 2-hour drive in the bus, just
talking. On our way to the Chapel, we stopped by Hna. Pinar´s, to make
sure she´d be there, at the baptismm. She was so happy to see us both.
I said hi to lots of beloved members at the church and I was sure it
couldn´t get better, but then Scarlet and Gustavo came in, married,
andI kenw Heaven was there with us. When Scarlet saw me, shestarted
crying, and I started crying ´cause we were sohappy. I baptized her
and it got even better. We tried to hustle out, but it was hard. Hna.
Pinar was like, "That´s my son! I´m his mamita!" She loves me so much.
Hna. Marita has always been jealous and (apart from throwing Hna.
Pinar the stink-eye) offered to drop us off at the Terminal. There
weren´t any more buses available until tomorrow, so the family offered
us dinner:french fries and beef. yum. I finally met Mario, who was in
my HOUSE, and met my FAMILY He´s awesome, and we talked about gringo
stuff. he said I look like my dad. TRUNKY. We´re spending the night
with my grandson, Elder Tholl, and Elder Williams. Elder tholl looks
like Elder Kemp.


Monday: We woke up early this morning and I kept Eldr Smith company as
he finished packing. I hugged him goodbye and wished him good luck. I
spent the morning cleaning the house up so I could make my video tour
of the house. We went to write the family. Daddy doing so much better.
He had his filter removed and he`s recovering well. He`s not coughing
as much, now. Mom and Daddy spent the weekend alone and had a good
time. Mom said Devin paid his tithing and fasted without being asked.
Cassie`s a bit sick, but still has stellar grades. I spent the
afternoon packing. I got it all done by 6. LIfe`s good. I got to say
goodbye to the Diaz family. I didn`t expect their strong reaction to
my leaving. Hno. John and his wife were both very impressed with my
happiness. They said it`s totally contagious and that I should always
be how I am. Hna. Paulina asked how I can always be so smiley. I`ve
really learned on the Mission. I taught her what I`d learned. I think
she`ll be fine. They`re such a good family.

Tuesday: So, today we had our transfers. I got up 40 min. too early,
and got to wait in suspense. I couldn`t believe I was leaving
Curanilahue! I had been totally prepared to finish my Mission there.
We got all my stuff together and made the bus on time. WE got to the
Terminal safely. WE didn`t have to wait long before Elder Brady`s new
comp., Elder Mendenhall, arrived. Elder Brady`s and my goodbye wasn`t
that emotional. As Zone Leader, my first responsibility was to wait
until all of the Zone had arrived. I met my new comp. Elder Aparicio.
He`s a total crackup. He has the straight-face kind of humor. As I`ve
come to know him, I`ve found him to be a little relaxed, but he wants
to get things done well. His last comp. wasn`t much of a team-player,
and he really likes me. I had a good time talking with Elder
Mcconnell, too. But I spent most of my time with elder Burch. We had
lunch with the Bishop`s wife. When we dropped my things off at the
house, I found it to be totally messy. OMG! So I asked my comp. if we
could take some time to clean up. Now it looks amazing. We have a few
investigators preparing to be baptized. One, Thomas has a date for
next week. we talked with his mom, who`s going through a divorce. She
is having a really hard time. I just wanted to help her so much. I
felt that she somehow felt responsible and guilty about what happened.
I told her it wasn`t her fault. She started crying, and we all felt
the Spirit. She`s going to read her Scriptures more, so she can be
closer to God. Her name`s Reaquel. Elder LIsonbee called me up, and
swung by with his parents. Yeah. I was fereaking out on the inside. We
dropped off the dirty clothes before coming back home. I`d heard Elder
Calaway had had surgery last week for appendicitis. I called and he
said he`s feeling much better. He`s gonna be a Zone Leader in San
Pedro, 30 min. to the South. I felt like a Junior comp. today. It was

Wednesday: So...I feel kind of overwhelmed. Haha. After having cleaned
up the house, I was kind of excited to get up. We did our exercises,
and had personal study. I found a book called, "How to become more
creative" which is something I deperately need. And it explained my
lack of creativity as a result of my "judiciary imagination." That`s
the use of imagination to weigh consequences and make decisions. It
weakens creativity. We started out the day doing contacts, before
going to visit the soon-to-be-ex-husband of the Sister we visited
yesterday. He kicked his wife and children out of his home. But the
man we spoke with was penetant and broken. He explained how he was
feeling, and we explained how things can get better. I thought my
comp. was going to go into explaining how to love his wife, or
something. But he did well and set the goal of helping them both come
closer to Christ. That is our purpose after all. We shared with him
the story of King Lamoni`s father, and how he asked to know God, so he
could receive the Eternal life. We had lunch with our WArd MIssion
Leader, who is awesome and actually does stuff with us. We got ot call
the two new Missionaries in our Zone,a nd welcome them to Chile. For a
contact, my comp. called out to a kid with a basketball, asking to see
it. The kid gives it to him, he dribbles it ONCE, it bouncesinto the
HIghway, and a bus pops it. It all happened in 5 sec. and I was
laughing SO hard. And then, he teaches the kid a lesson and asks if he
wants us to come over. The kid shook his head no, and asked for
payment. My comp. didn`t have money, so I had to pay. lame. We went to
see a past contact, Samuel, who runs an upholstery shop. My comp`s
done that his whole life. So we helped upholster a couch. We taught
Thomas, our 9 yr.-old investigator about faith, using water balloons
and a blindfold to make a cool activity. Then we had our commitee and
gave a class. And finally, we picked up the clothes. I`m so lost. :)
But it`s nice to be with someone who knows what they`re doing.

Thursday: Things are getting better. I still felt a little stressed
when we spoke with each other to plan the Distrizona. I have been so
wire-tight, trying to anticipate everything because my comp. is relaly
laid-back and likes to do things in the moment, without planning. Next
to him, the Mamita we live with things I`m a no-nonsense,
super-organized, clean Missionary. But I`m getting better. Our Meeting
went off without a hitch (We DID end up planning it). We`ve got a
really good Zone. There`s an Elder Gonzalez from Provo. He went to the
other High School. He spent 11 months in Iraq, and told me some
stories. When he finished, he said, "I like you, which is weird
because, since the war, I`ve had trouble with that." I really wanted
to gain the Zone`s trust, and everyone else had equally positive
reactions. :) As we were leaving, a bird pooped on me, but only on my
backpack strap. Yay! We had lunch with an Hna. Aurora, who isn`t a
member. She`s been investigating since October, but isn`t fure. She
loves the Missionaries, but her relationship with Elder Aparicio is
too casual, just like everyone here. He says he wants to "enjoy the
Mission", but I think there may be a better way. But I`m trying to be
more humble. We visited Samuel, the Upholstery guy, but he was busy.
He`s gonna read a chapter of the Book of Mormon before we visit again.
As we were walking from him, we started talking with two kids-- one
15, and one 18, both fireman in the 3rd company of firemen. The 18
year-old, Collin, said we could talk with him right there. We sat
beneath a tree and taught baptism. Collin said he wasn`t baptized yet.
He was excited to learn more. WE`ll talk on Sunday. wE taught Thomas
the Baptismal interview questions. He`ll review it with his mom. I
gave her the talk "Forget Me Not" by Elder Uchtdorf from the NOvember
Liahona. We ended the night with the Guiñazú family. We live with
them, and they are SO Nice. They made us a butt-load of completos.
They like it when we visit.

Friday: Today was a good day. It rained for the first time in a while.
Walking through the windy rain reminded me of my dear times with
Elders Calaway, Burch, and Zuñiga. I wonder what it will be like, to
look back on the Mission as a whole? My companion`s beginning to
remind me of Elder Argueta, who I got along with so "stellarly." I`ve
begun to notice he`s a bit of a manipulator, saying rude thigns while
apologizing. It`s really disorienting. But I`m trying to see the best
in others, and my efforts have been rewarded. The Assisstants called
and chewed him out for something he forgot to do. He acknowledged that
he wasn`t perfect, but he tries to be better. And he really doesn`t
get down on himself when he messes up. I`ve gotten hard on myself,
really hard, for failing. But I`ve learned that it`s okay not to be
perfect. It`s the effort of TRYING that the Lord expects. And I`ve
never stopped doing that. In the morning, we went to buy our bus
tickets for our trip tomorrow. We had lunch with a cool Sister that
made us a veggie pie. It was great. We went through the rain all day.
wE found osme new investigators: Roxana, and Alex. Roxana didn`t want
to talk at first. She`s Catholic. But as we explained about Christ`s
Church and the Apostasy, she became very interested. It was all
academic, until we mentioned the GIft of the Holy Ghost. She wanted
it, and will continue receiving us. Then we taught Thomas about
Prophets and the Restoration. His mom really likes it when we come
over. She really needs the visits now. We came home early, because
some members from San Vicente lost a house and were coming to pick up
our spare mattresses. While we waited, we shared the "17 MIracles"
movie with the Guiñazú family. They loved it! P.S. My comp. says I
sleep talk in Spanish and english. He heard me say, "Oh my goodness!"

Saturday: Today was sooo long! We travelled to Tirúa, because the
Olivares family asked me to baptize their youngest daughter, Belén. I
wanted to be out, waiting for the "micro" bus at 6:20, so it could
take us to the bus terminal for OUR bus at 7:30. Yesterday, it took us
an hour. My comp. got us out the door at 6:35. I freaked out a little,
on the inside. WE caught a micro at 6:45, and I asked Heavenly FAther
for help. We made it in 30 min! We got on the bus and made the 3-hour
trip to Cañete, then another hour-and-a-half to Tirúa. It was so cool
to walk up the hill to their house, just like old times. Their house
looked the same, and it brought back all my feelings of love for them.
Lehi`s voice has dropped a lot, and Jayson is still a little, round
sweetheart. Hna. Olivares swas so happy to see me. And Hno. Renato,
from my previous sector, Curanilahue, was there. I saw him last week!
Haha. The Olivares` had all teir relatives over (minus Diego,
Meybelline, and Gonzalo). I had met them all over the course of 3
months last year, but it was great to see them al again. The baptism
was performed in their backyard pool. I had to repeat it because
Belén`s toe popped up. So we did the second time kneeling. Hna.
Olivares made us Choripanes with a good sauce. She`s like, "I made you
the sauce that you like." I was like, "What sauce?" But when I tried
it, I was like, "Oh THAT sauce!" It was amazing. So it was a good day.
We took a 5-hour bus back home. When we arrived, I was so dead. But
Hno. Guiñazú invited us to have some warm soup he had waiting for us.
He`s so good.

Sunday: Today was a good day. We went to our meeting with the Ward
Council. The WArd here is really excited to help the MIssionaries.
They have a few Young Men who are preparing to leave in a little
while, on their missions. My Comp. has a great relationship with the
members, too. He has a great sense of humor, and knows how to use it.
We had a class on the Fall of adam and Eve, the one I taught a few
weeks ago. When we got to lunch, I was SO Hungry. My stomach was
killing me. But as I ate, it got worse, and I asked the Sister if I
could bag up my lunch. She asked if I was well, and I said no. She
invited me to lie down in one of her rooms. As soon as she closed the
door, I cried from the pain. Then the whole family came in and saw. Oh
geez. After a rest, I didn`t feel better, so we went home. I was
worried because we`d miss our 6 o`clock appt. with Collin. But we
randomly ran into him on the way home. Crazy! Tonight, was the first
time I asked my Zoine for their numbers. Elder Alvez`s District, as
well as hi sown sector, had low results for a week of work. I wanted
to love him, but I wanted to do better, too. I was a bit too rough
with him. My comp. asked, "Do you feel you`ve served Elder Alvez
enough to be able to ask things like that of him?" I told him no, and
he taught me how to be a better, loving leader. I have more respect
for him now.I called Elder Alvez back, and apologized. I felt so bad.
I just don`t want to mess up.