Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New Year's Eve Mission Activity

On the 31st of December from 9:00 am - Noon the mission had "Una Mañana de Deportes" ("A Sports Morning") as the answer to a birthday wish of Hermana May. Here is the picture of the group of missionaries that I was with (Zones Quilicura, Los Andes, y Colina).

Lo Ovalle 1 - Week #10

¡Hola Familia!
So when did anyone plan on telling me that Ryah was planning on going to New York City? This is the first I've heard about it, and she leaves Thursday. And when someone figures out why the cooler kids that attended Central High School, graduating in 2008, didn't get to do anything as cool as that, let me know. (I'm calm now...)
So in the midst of everyone hitting the beach these past couple weeks, the Lo Ovalle Ward had someone hit the water again Sunday!!! Patricia Peña got his sins washed away yesterday at 2:00 PM. It was a wonderful experience to see the change that happened in him from before the baptismal service until he left the font. And it was even more wonderful to be right beside him the whole way. (I'll get pictures sent today so you can understand. You can really see the difference in the pictures before the baptism and when we were leaving the font). It feels so good to be able to complete your purpose as a missionary, "to baptize for the remission of sins, to save souls" ("para bautizar para la remisión de los pecados para salvar almas").
Always, however, among success there is also disappointment. We had plans to have anywhere from 9-13 investigators in church this Sunday and we did everything that we could to make it happen. We extended the invitation and the commitment, followed up on the commitment, and even passed by Sunday morning to take the investigators to church. Turns out that in Sacrament Meeting we only had 2, one of those being Patricio and one being someone who was visiting with a family in our sector (and she was crazy). But we will keep doing all we can to have success in la iglesia this coming Sunday.
Also Sunday I had the opportunity to stand in on the confirmation of Nadege. It was a good experience to see someone finish the path for the remission of sins and to come into full fellowship as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To see someone complete the steps to begin receiving the blessings of the Restored Gospel is something that we all want and something that can't be replaced.
Mommy: Just to clarify, it wasn't an earthquake. It only registered as a 4.0! If that was the strongest Chile ever got I'd be ecstatic, luckily they haven't had a big earthquake since 1986 (I think). The funny thing is that I didn't freak one little bit, unlike Elder Davenport who was practically all over the place wanting to know what was going on. I just stayed put in my kneeling position on the floor staring at him until it stopped, and then started praying again. =D
Sounds like Ryah's birthday went good, too bad you had Auntie Pasta's without me!!! I guess that's what I get for deciding to serve God for 2 years... LOL. Good luck with all of the snow again, I'm sure Ryah will hit a little bit in her trip. Hopefully y'all can avoid any damage at the house this time.
I love hearing how y'all are doing, even if you don't think you're telling me anything exciting. It is good to hear the things that seem everyday to y'all that are things that I haven't gotten to do in 6 months (and still have another 18 to go). ¡Pero no hay quejarse! I'm doing what the Lord wants and what I want to be doing too.
I love this gospel with all of my heart and the opportunity that I have to help others come unto our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to come to know Him and His Atonement for each of us. I love the knowledge that I have and the opportunity that I have to keep learning everyday and share that knowledge with others. I look forward to the continued change that I can make in the people here in the Chile Santiago North Mission and the opportunity that I have to serve them.
I love you all and miss you bunches. I look forward to hearing all of the experiences of this next week.
¡Les amo y les echo de menos muchisimo!
¡Todo mi amor!
-- Élder Todd

Monday, February 15, 2010

Lo Ovalle 2 - Week #9

¡Hola Familia!

WE HAD A BAPTISM!!! Nadege finally decided to allow us to dunk her in the water, and I'm now aware at how much of a miracle that really is. A few weeks ago we were at the point of dropping her as an investigator and continuing to teach another Haitiano in the same house. She wasn't willing to pray to receive a testimony of whether or not the gospel is true. But finally she did it and we ended up dropping the other investigator instead because he wasn't progressing at all. Now she is the cleanest person I know, having an opportunity to start over. Also, it is a miracle that we baptized someone who doesn't speak very much Spanish (and no English) in a situation where almost nobody close speaks French!!! It was a headache at first (not nearly as much as this computer that the Internet is messed up and the space key on the keyboard sticks) but turned out really well in the end.

This gospel really does change lives, I've come to appreciate how much that is true within the last couple of weeks as we've grown closer to baptism with a few of the investigators that we've been teaching. To see these people grow to become strong, faithful members is a real blessing. I'll try to get a quick letter written today and it and a picture from before the baptism sent next Monday.

So I really can't believe that East Texas got 2-3 of snow in Lufkin (and that's the small amount). Everyone here keeps telling me that the noticias are saying that the United States is freezing over and having an unusual winter, but until this and the pictures I can't say that I believed anyone... LOL! We are starting to cool down here a little bit, like once every couple of days is below 30 grados, so it is starting to get a little nicer.

School is getting ready to start back on March 1st so we should start seeing more people to teach in a short little while as everyone has to return from vacations. (Typical Chileans leave for vacations for "1 week" and stay gone for about a month and a half). The numbers for the mission always jump up from February to March as almost everyone comes back and a lot of people start to listen.

Two things that I wrote myself a note so I absolutely didn't forget:

1) SHOUT OUT!!! to Ryah. If it were possible to sing in a letter (or e-mail) I would do it, but I'm pretty sure it won't work... so I'll just shout it as loud as I can. ¡¡¡FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS!!! Sorry I can't tell you Tuesday, but if it makes you feel better you can read this again on Tuesday... LOL. And I'll be thinking about you!

2) Friday morning I officially felt my first temblor (mini-earthquake). It was measured at a 4.0 here in Santiago with the epicenter in Mendoza, Argentina (just 2 hours or so away). It kinda freaked myself y Élder Davenport out a little bit. It is definitely an interesting experience when you are praying quietly and the floor under your knees (on the first floor...keep in mind that the floor is solid brick on a concrete foundation) starts rocking like a few small waves are passing under it. It felt alot like being on a boat that is crossing the wake of another. Definitely not this Texas boy's cup of tea!!! LOL.

So far it looks like we are still on schedule for the baptism with Patricio next Sunday, if all goes well I'll have a picture from his baptism in the letter too. He is definitely a character, pero buenisimo. The only downside with him is that he has a really big interest in deep doctrine and does a good job at dominating the conversation with his experiences with meditation and his questions. Ojalá his mamá will be baptized with him too, we've got to try to guide her to making the decision for herself though. We'll see what happens tonight when we have our Noche de Hogar ("Night of the Home", o sea, Family Home Evening) with them.

Congratulations to Brandon Garcia!!! That is a huge accomplishment! Is Casey still teaching there, I heard he was being transferred to Kansas but I never heard when.

¡¡¡Oye Mamá y Papá!!! Angela told me that you haven't RSVP-ed for the wedding yet. You might want to get on the ball so that she knows for sure. LOL!!! (And that was just a friendly reminder...nothing more).

Mamá: See if you can get Kathy to help you send the picture from your phone to the computer if you and the familia can't figure it our. I'm sure she knows how to do it.

So I think I've already accounted for all of my new experiences that I've had this week. We just finished an activity de zona where we watched the movie about Gordon B. Hinckley and "Mountain of the Lord", about the contruction of the Salt Lake Temple. Then we had churrascos afterwards, yummy!!!

I don't have much time left and I've got to e-mail Angela again. I don't know if Grandma D. got my letter a week or 2 ago but I'll do my best to get another one out next Monday too.

Love you lots and sorry I'm missing all of the fun weather going on in East Texas.

¡Todo mi amor y cariño! ¡Les extraño muchisimo!

-- Élder Todd

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lo ovalle 1 - Week #8

¡Hola Familia!

Woo Hoo!!! I got to work a full week this week, as I've now gotten over my illness thanks to a Chilean drug rep.

So this week turned into a little bit of a disappointment on Wednesday when Nadege (our not so "golden" Haitiana) changed her baptismal date to the 14th of February. Although now I feel that she is more prepared than she was before it was kinda a bummer at the time. So, this Sunday Élder Davenport will be performing the first baptism that we've had in this sector!!! Woot!!!
This week has also strengthened my testimony in the importance of the members in missionary work. We've had the opportunity to work with the family of our líder misional del barrio (ward mission leader) a lot this week and seen them interact with the investigators that we are teaching. The testimony of a member in the lessons is essential, but when the testimony can relate directly to the experiences of the other person it is even better. Our investigator, Patricio, has been having trouble quitting smoking over the past couple of weeks, but since Saturday night he hasn't had a cigarette. Yesterday we took a member who previously smoked more than 2 cajas de cigarros cada día. Patricio is now on his path to receiving a baptism for the remission of sins on the 21st of February, with yours truly performing the ordinance. (I'll have pictures sent home as soon as I can).

If all goes well today there should be a letter headed your way, on the slow boat. Hopefully there will be a CD with pictures or my tarjeta (but please read the note/letter first). Right now we are in the center close to an attraction called the Plaza de Armas, where Correos Chile (main office), the Catholic cathedral, y a couple of other attractions are located.
Sounds like the ward hasn't changed a bit within the past many years. It is kinda funny when a few people have all of the callings, but at least they are being magnified. LOL. Primaria still sounds like a blast!!! LOL. ¡Suerte!

The houses seem to be coming along rather nicely from what you've all told me. It will be good when y'all can move into the Hen house. I almost got to watch the Super Bowl, but Élder Davenport and I decided that it would be better to not pass by the only Chilean that is a fan of fútbol Americana (who happens to live in our ward), and that working with investigators would be more important... LOL! What was I thinking?!?!?

I love this work and the change it has brought about in me in these short 5 months (más como 3... the MTC didn't change me much). Before the mission I didn't realize exactly how important missionary work was, especially member missionary work. I love my calling and the opportunity that I have to serve full time as a representative of Jesus Christ and as a special witness of Him. This is truly His work here on the earth, and He desires that all of His children receive it. It is our deber (duty) to help that come to pass! Like the contemporary Christian song says... "If we are the body?" (and we are) "Why aren't his hands healing?". I testify that they are, but how much more could they do if every single one of us shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ, THE TRUTH, with just one person. We'd go from 15 million members to over 30 million (if those with whom we shared it didn't share again) in a short time. We have the commandment to do so. The prophets have said, "Every member a missionary". This is our commission and this in the challenge I give to each of you who is reading this: Help build the Kingdom. Este es el Reino de Dios en la tierra. ¡Edifique lo!

My prayer is that each of us will take every opportunity possible to share what we have with others. I love this Gospel with all my heart. Y yo sé con ninguná duda que esta iglesia es la iglesia verdadera de Jesucristo en la tierra hoy en día. (And I know without a doubt that this church is the true church of Jesus Christ in the earth today.)

I love you all and miss you bunches! I look forward to hearing the success stories of each of you as you strive to share this Gospel with those you know and love.

¡Todo mi amor! ¡Suerte en nuestro mandato!

-- Élder Todd

"Hurrah for Israel!!!"

Friday, February 5, 2010

Lo Ovalle 1 - Week #7


Hola familia, this week has been full of all sorts of interesting surprises... but first things first. We have new e-mail addresses, la mía is todd.hendrickson@myldsmail.net. Any of the e-mail to the old address should make it to me but it might be a little slower, so try to use this new one. Another quick announcement to end the week of surprises. Last Monday, President Monson announced the building of a temple in Payson, Utah. Turns out the property where the temple is going to be built was part of the sod farm that my companion worked on before his mission. Cool, huh?!?!? Mom, I'm glad I looked good and healthy in the picture that I sent you. LOL... I think it is because I was, up until this past weekend. Turns out I got one of my little 36 hour bugs (stomach virus), and was in the house for a couple hours Saturday and almost all day yesterday. But I'm alive and well now, ready to hit the streets again tonight. Turns out that it is a good thing that my taste buds have changed since I hit foreign soil, as I now like yogurt and alot of other things that I would hardly touch before. (I've still got a few picky tendencies, but the yogurt is keeping me from staying sick). So this was the big surprise to end out my week!!! Another big surprise this week (or two) involved algúnos de los Haitianos that we are teaching. Nadege still wants to get baptized and is well on her way to doing so this Sunday!!! YAY!!! My first baptism... And Bob has stopped progressing, so we are pushing for this month still but aren't sure what day now. Another one of the Haitianos, Ludger, now wants to be baptized but wants to wait until March because he wants to go to the church more first. He is working weekends right now because he was receiving money from his family in Haiti, but now isn't, and is trying to help his older brother move to Chile. Also, another one of the Haitianos who hasn't wanted anything much to do with us is listening to us now and yesterday (according to Elder Davenport) requested a Book of Mormon. Things are starting to look up and looking white!!! LOL. Sounds like everything is good at home. Surprise, surprise about a change in seminary in the middle of the year... where did that come from? And is McCabe still president of Elders Quorum??? Ryah will have fun & I'm sure that all of the youth are excited. I'm pretty sure that McCabe has taught it before, but maybe I'm mistaken. Primary ought to be a fun time for Mom, especially with 5 year-olds. Who is in the primary presidency now? Sounds like problems at the house might be starting to resolve, so that is good. Sucks that the water heater had significant damage. (The song "I Feel Like A Woman" just ended on the overhead speakers and I really had ganas to do a line dance). I'm glad my package got there OK, I'm sorry I forgot I asked at Christmas... :'( And the idea of the letters was not to be ugly para nada. To answer your questions, Jumbo was a success. We found Oreos and one of my favorites, Campbell's tomato soup (which I'm going to eat today to finish the recuperation process). Also I found something that isn't my favorite but I had to buy because it is a novelty item here and it reminded me of Texas... Dr. Pepper!!! And it didn't taste awful either, I'm still not really a fan though...LOL. Unfortunately for us Jumbo isn't super close, it is actually outside of the mission boundaries but we had permission to go. It is also fairly expensive as all of the items are imports. There is another within the mission boundaries but it is in Los Andes (almost 2 hours away). There wasn't really any super exciting news this week, but I look forward to being able to work full-time this week...LOL. How is Gabey doing on getting things ready for the mission. He can open his carpeta (mission papers) 3 months before his birthday, just so you know. I love this work and the opportunity that I have to serve here at this time. I love being able to see the changes this gospel makes in the lives of the people we teach. It feels like yesterday that I entered Chile and I know this next 19 months will fly by. I miss you and love you all!!! Good luck with all of the endeavours. Look forward to hearing from you next week.

Love ya'll bunches,
-- Elder Todd