Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lo Ovalle 1 - Week #6

¡Hola Tejanos! (and anyone else reading this)

This week has been what I would call a "POR FIN" week! Por fin we got 2 of the Haitianos that we have been teaching with a baptismal date and are preparing them to hit the water at the beginning of February. To help everyone better understand the importance of this I'll recount a little of the background on them...
When we arrived in this sector we had several investigators that the other missionaries had been "teaching". This group of Hatianos were a few of them and the only thing they "lacked" was the baptism itself. Turns out that there was alot that they didn't know and everything we've taught so far has been new...LOL. The other day we were teaching them a little bit about baptism and confirmation and Nadege said that if she received an answer to her prayers that what we were teaching was true she wanted to be baptized. Bob (the other Haitiano) then echoed the same thing. So with all this time that we've been teaching and we decide to put them with a fecha bautismal one day and it just so happens that they put themselves with a baptismal commitment. The Spirit works in whatever way it can to help bring people unto Christ!
Also Saturday we found a family that we have begun teaching. Yesterday we taught Juan Carlos y Patricia (the parents) and we are hoping and praying that the two oldest kids will be there on Tuesday when we have a return appointment. It feels so good to have a family to teach, because that is our focus, and up until this point I've only had the opportunity to teach individuals.
Thank you for the pictures!!! I haven't gotten to look at all of them yet and this computer doesn't like my memory card but I'm going to try to put them on my card and print them later on. Sounds like there is all sorts of fun going on with the house and all that jazz right now, with the winter weather that doesn't happen in East Texas. It is also really good to hear that Lufkin 1st Ward didn't get closed to missionaries again.
Did anyone at my house get the package that I sent from the MTC? That is the question of the century... LOL. (And just for the record I'm not mad... I've just asked 20-something times... LOL!)
I too echo the sentiments of Grandpa that I am not in Haiti. It is hard to see the effect it has on the people here because there are alot of Haitianos in Quilicura (more than any other part of Santiago). The only missionaries that have been in Haiti since 2005 have been native Haitians. Last night I was reading an article in the Liahona from 2009 sometime about the missionary efforts in Haiti and it seems as if the program is thriving very well, seeing as the only efforts are through the natives there.
I'm excited for today... we are going to a super market called Jumbo that sells alot of the same foods and stuff as are available in the United States, including Root Beer! Unfortunately I'm not sure I'm ready to take my chances with root beer again after my MTC experience...LOL. (NOT going into details).
Sorry pictures didn't work...it seems like one of my memory cards got a virus on it so I'm trying to see if I can fix it so I can put all the pictures on a CD and send them home. Don't know if ya'll got the picture from the mission activity for New Years or not, I sent it home.
Love you all and miss you bunches. I'm almost done with 5 months of the mission (2 more days) and it is getting faster all the time. Love you and hope that my last letter wasn't too biting and sarcastic.

¡Todo mi amor!

¡Suerta con la casa de Hen!

-- Elder Todd

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Lo Ovalle 1 - Week #4

¡Hola Familia!

I just wanted to start with a shout out to Elder Alex Datillo (who won't be seeing this)!!! He will be leaving for the MTC on Tuesday for the South Dakota, Rapid City Mission. Maybe he'll end up in the same ward as Elder Francis' family...
So today has been a long day!!! We had an activity for the zone at a member's house in Lo Marcoleta and made pizza, played ping-pong, and tried to build a human pyramid for about 2 hours finally having a little bit of success. So right now we are at the limit of the time that we are allowed to do Internet! WooHoo!!! But it was all good/fun...and all that jazz.
WOOT!!! This week Elder Davenport and I are beginning to see the fruits of all of our efforts of the previous 2 weeks of working in the new sector. I guess the Lord sees fit now to bless us with success as we've been relying completely on Him since we got here (you have to when you don't have a clue!!!). Now we've just got to prove to Him that we are worthy of the success and know what to do with it. This week alone we found 5 new investigators!!! In this mission in order to be an investigator, and count, the person has to have a fecha bautismal (baptismal date)...these meet the criteria...all 5 from this week now have a fecha bautismal for the 7th of February. Thus it looks like we didn't have a white Christmas in this sector but we are going to have a white February 7th!!! LOL. We truly have been blessed as of late!
More on Quilicura later...but it sounds like East Texas is not doing so good without me...LOL. Ya'll have had almost anything that you could possibly name happen since I've been gone, looks like luck has run out or something. Where did Cellular One move to? And hopefully everyone is surviving well enough with all of the problems...Murphy's Law anyone???
So did Alex seem excited to be leaving? And how did he feel about South Dakota? And has Ryan Whitworth finished getting his papers in yet? Any other amazing news that I'm missing out on while I'm here on the other side of the world.
Another shout out, to Morgan Reese!!! Good luck with the talk in Stake Conference, you'll do great though! The Reese family needs to send me an e-mail or letter or something! Along with anyone else that reads this in the ward...I'm definitely suffering from a lack of mail!!! (It only costs $0.98 to send a letter to Chile)...LOL.
I'm praying fervently for cooler weather! So far the only thing that is happening is that we've been able to maintain the viento (wind) which is very rare for the summer months, especially Enero. Sometime in Febrero we should start to feel a little relief with the rain (lluvia) starting in about Mayo. Oh...another fun thing is about to happen this Sunday...NOT!!! Chile is entering the segunda vuelta (second vote) for the presidential elections this Sunday. So all of our meetings are all messed up and it is going to be rather difficult to get some of our investigators to church eventhough it is only 1 hour (we only have sacrament meeting because of the voting), unfortunately it is an hour and a half earlier than normal.
OK... I absolutely love this sector!!! I feel like Elder Davenport and I will both still be here for the next transfer (part of it anyways), so hopefully the baptisms that we have planned won't get yanked from under me again. Unfortunately I've got the feeling that quite a bit of the leadership in our zone is about to change, as we have zone leaders who have been acting in that assignment for 6 months now (longer than President May likes) and one district leader who goes home this transfer...a few of the other district leaders have quite a bit of time in Quilicura también (also). So we might get caught in the middle of leadership change, it isn't a bad thing but occassionally it gets a little complicated. I'll still be happy though as long as Elder Nielson's prediction doesn't come to pass (I'll include that next week...I don't want to jinx myself).
So I don't think I have any amazing, blow you out of the water stories for this week. We have found a new way to do contacts though...LOL. Every night when we are returning from proselyting we walk by a park close to our house (a fairly large park). There are always a group or 2 of teenagers sitting in the park and they always yell at us...we hardly ever stop...until yesterday!!! Yesterday we stopped by 2 of the groups and talked with them inviting them to listen to us, they all said to pass by any time we see them in the park (we completed 9 contacts this way within about 10 minutes...normally that many takes almost an hour or more).
For anyone who is reading this that is a member, consider this your challenge. We have been working altisimo (alot) with the members in this ward where I'm currently serving (Lo Ovalle). This ward is a little more active that Lufkin 1 (my home ward). We are finding alot of success through the members here, I know it gets annoying on occassion to be asked for references and for this reason sometimes the missionaries are hesitant to ask. But I challenge each of you as a family and also as indiviuos (individuals) to pray and ask our Heavenly Father to bless you with a name of someone with whom you can share this gospel, tal vez a traves de los misioneros (perhaps through the missionaries). I can testify that there are people that each and every one of us knows who is ready to receive this gospel, but they are waiting. Some may be waiting for the missionaries to knock their door, but there are some that are waiting for YOU!!! Consider this you compromiso (commitment) [I know you'll all accept because you love me so much] and really pray to know who this person is...then pass the reference to the missionaries. I want to here of everyone's stories so don't forget to rendir cuentas (report back) to me...LOL. Presidente McCabe, if you read this, please share it with the Elders Quorum!
I love this work and the great blessing it has been to my life. I pray that each and every one of you can grow as much to love this gospel and this obra misional (missionary work) as I have. I encourage all of you to keep up the good work in what you are doing and to strive your hardest to add to your current efforts (even a little bit) to help build up the Kingdom of God on the Earth.
I love you all and miss you alot. ¡Buena suerte (good luck) in all of your endeavors!

¡Con todo mi amor y con todo mi corazón!

-- Elder Todd

Lo Ovalle - Week #5

¡Hola Familia!

Last night we received a call about cambios at 11:30 (earlier than usual)... and the survey says... Elder Davenport and I nos quedamos (stay) in Lo Ovalle 1 for another 6 weeks (ojalá)!!! We both had the feeling we would be staying and were both hoping that Elder Nielson (de the Texas Dallas Mission) hadn't jinxed me when he said I'd be district leader this change. Turns out, our district leader left to my old zone... and... I'm not district leader! LOL.
So today it appears as if the 4 missionaries from our ward (all 4 are still here) [including mi jemelo (twin) from Argentina (Elder Walker)] are going to do the most worldly entertainment we are allowed to in the mission, BOWLING!!! I'm excited but I'm sure I'm going to get my but kicked by Elder Arave (companion de Elder Walker).
So this week was kind of a disappointment, our logros looked really bad and we dropped from having 10 references received these last 2 weeks (por lo menos) to 0... OUCH... Also we had to drop several investigators. The bad thing is that a bunch of our investigators were on vacation this last week, but at least it was only 1 week rather than the 2 months that alot of the Chileans take... (yeah it would be nice wouldn't it???).
The only spectacular news I have is that the terremoto (earthquake) that happened in Haiti this last week happened while we were teaching algunos Haitianos. The communication right now between Chile and Haiti sucks so there are still some of them that don't know how their families are. I can't imagine what is going through their heads right now. But there is help that exists, and it is called "The Gospel of Jesus Christ" (especially the Plan of Salvation). Previous to Tuesday of last week (when the earthquake happened) we were having alot of trouble getting one of the Haitianas that we are teaching to pray. For some reason or another she was just stuck on the fact that she wasn't worthy or algo como así. So Nadege (the same Haitiana) on Tuesday just before the terremoto told us she was going to pray to know if José Smith was a prophet... And she did! When we taught the Plan of Salvation yesterday we asked her if she did and with a huge smile, that seemed like she received an answer too, she answered in the affirmative! Now we've just got to get her in the water!!! LOL. All of our other chances for a baptism this month have failed except for 1 who is also now progressing, because nobody wants to go to church. AHHHHH!!!
So Elder Davenport and I get along super well and have really started getting the hang of working together. Somehow we are avoiding the temptation to speak much English, especially since we are both new, and it is really helping us to improve. The only disagreements we've had have been settled with a quick Nerf shoot-out!!! And then the other day we ganged up our old district leader (Elder Newton) and I ganged up on our companions (Elder Davenport y Elder Boyce), it was fun.
So it kinda sucks that both of the Lufkin elders are leaving. Did nobody think to ask them if there were more missionaries being transferred in to open the sector??? Either way, I doubt it will be closed again after the success that has been had there as of late.
I'll try to get pictures to ya'll of me in my "missionary environment". If all other efforts fail I'll get a disk in the mail within the next couple of weeks.
Sounds like work has been fun and work at the house is going to be even more fun in the next couple weeks repairing all of the freeze damage. I did receive the pictures of the house but it would be good to see more of how it is coming along.
Success here in the mission field feels so good, but unfortunately we have disappointments too. I saw on our mission website today that one of the people that we (Elder Low and I) were preparing for baptism in El Salto 2 was just baptized this past week... so ¡felicitaciones! to Rosa Olivares, the first person I've helped prepare for baptism. Anyways, we are starting to see more success here and look forward to the success that this week is going to bring. We now have the faith and the investigators sufficient to achieve our goals, and we are going to do it! I'll let you know how it goes next week.
I'm going to try to send a few pictures today so hopefully ya'll can see some of my world! Love you and miss you bunches.

¡Todo mi cariño y amor!

-- Elder Todd

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lo Ovalle 1 - Week #3

¡Hola Familia!

This week has flown by! I swear that the days and weeks are getting shorter and that we don't have as much time to work, but who knows! The New Year passed here in Chile without much incident...but it was kinda weird to hear the countdown in Spanish! (cinco, cuatro, tres, dos, uno...¡FELIZ AÑO! We worked as normal on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day...only thing is there was hardly anybody out on Friday! The whole población of Quilicura was practically dead until about 8:30 PM and then there were very few people.
It doesn't feel like the Holiday Season has just passed, and I'm sure that in about 6 months I'll be looking for Christmas! LOL...this opposite climate thing has got me all sorts of messed up, but it's all good... I'm sad to hear that the houses didn't look Christmas-like either! And you better do better next year!
Sorry about the new hours for church meetings, but now you've got time in the morning to get up and do your doings...and the only time you need in the afternoon is enough to send me an e-mail! And Mom, I can't believe you joined Facebook! Do you not remember that I specifically forbid you??? And did Gabe or Ryah deny your friend requests? Just because everyone is jumping off of a cliff, would you do it? (Don't answer that...)
It is hard to believe that time is flying so fast...Jared and Sean will be home before we know it! And then someone will be there to put Gabe into gear on getting his license, a job, and preparing for the mission. I encourage everyone who reads this to dilligently ask him when he is leaving for a mission! He needs a little kick in the rear to get him moving! (Love you Gabey!!! <3 ...LOL)
I would love to have cold temperatures right now...as long as they don't come with the rain like they will here in Santiago. I've heard the drainage system in most of the sectors is practically non-existent, so most of the streets flood really bad! Joy of all joys! I can't wait...LOL
So we taught our house-full of Haitians on Friday...without our translator. The lesson was very spiritual and focused almost completely of committing them to read and pray about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and our message. Two of them also went to church with us yesterday. The problems with Haitianos normally is that they don't keep commitments and progress, but I feel like this time it will be different..."You've Gotta Have Faith".
Our other investigator, Marisel, seemed to have been avoiding us Wednesday through Saturday but turns out she is just having some health problems for the time being and hasn't been at home. This is good, because her 14 year-old son gave us the same excuse all 4 times we passed by and we thought that he was having some mental problems or something of the sort. But she still feels like she has received an answer to her prayers that this message that we bring is true and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God translate by his prophet. She seems to have every intention of going through with her baptismal date for the 24th of this month...now we just have to get her and her family to church. (Hopefully we can baptize her 3 kids that are over 8 year-old as well.)
I apologize for my inability to spell! But don't make fun of me. I mean, what can anyone expect when you are immersed in a foreign language 24/7 for 2 and 1/2 months!
Hope everything is well at home. Send me pictures of the dog!!! Please!!!
Love you all and miss you bunches. So far the only thing I don't like about Chile is the stereotype of Texas with Walker Texas Ranger...OH MY GOSH!!! AHHHHHHH!!! LOL.

¡Todo Mi Amor!
-- Elder Todd S. Hendrickson