Saturday, June 26, 2010

Circunvalacion 1 - Week #5

Hola Familia!

Sooo... this was my week of fun! We had Zone Conferences Tuesday and Wednesday, so I was working until the wee hours of the morning Tuesday (aka Monday night) to get everything ready. You've just got to love office life!!! I'm starting to learn just how crazy the office can get when not everything goes the way you have planned and you've got to wait on other people to be able to complete your deadlines.

So the change ends this weekend... we'll clearly be running all over the place with that! I have the great opportunity to be companions with the mission secretary, who is in charge of all of the flights... so I'll be in the airport 3-4 times the first week of the new change, between sending missionaries home and receiving new ones. They say in the office that if you are secretary or historian that when you go home it isn't anything new because you've already been to the airport a billion times (or more)!!! LOL. (While we are on that subject... it might be better if you don't come pick me up at the end of my mission, and we just visit más adelante).

Sounds like Dad had a good Father's Day... I didn't forget by the way! LOL. And sounds like y'all got a little bit accomplished at the house. I want to see more pictures when there are visible changes! And pictures of the family please!!! (Unless of course you want the pre-prom family ones in plain view at my often frequented desk! LOL).

So this week we've been really blessed here in this sector. For a while we've had trouble finding new investigators, but this week we've been able to find 4 within two days. The Lord really is preparing people here to recieve the Gospel!!! Also I forgot to tell you last week that we had started teaching a bum... yes Gabe, A BUM!!! He lives in a little plastic homemade tent thing behind one of the bus stops in our sector. He has also been attending church for a couple months now. Unfortunately after we committed him to baptism we've found out that he probably isn't in a mental state to progress in the Gospel. But anyways, his name is Jorge, and his devotion to going to church is amazing...

Thursday we had a mission activity, another sports day... but this time we actually played real Ultimate Frisbee for a little while. It was pretty fun, but we didn't have a really great Frisbee so I had a little trouble (that or I'm just really bad...). Either way we had a good time and there haven't been any real injuries reported to the mission medic, aka my companion Élder Johns, yet.

On to the World Cup... Chile and the USA classified, unfortunately Chile still lost to Spain (but that doesn't matter now). From what I've heard Chile is up with Brazil next (and in my opinion will probably loose) and the USA with Ghana (and will probably win)! Either way I'm rooting for both teams until the very slight chance that the USA and Chile both advance and play at some point, in which case I will be rooting for neither and either hiding for a couple weeks or find the next flight home!!! LOL. (Luckily I have a companion that has no problem booking flights...

Update on the driving experience... I'm still wreck free, and I'm still and forever will be designated driver!!! Yay!!! It is a little bit crazy...

¿No sé si alguien puede hacerme un favor? Si es posible, ¿alguien podría buscar la dirección del e-mail de Sean Gilmore y mandármelo? ¡Por favor!

It is strange... I'm sitting here in the Center today and in a Internet shop right now... there is a guy sitting next to me that is now speaking another language. I don't understand a word he is saying, and unfortunately 3 of the other 6 missionaries I'm with are laughing about it... that could turn out bad!

Bueno, I can't really think of anything else to include this week... Sorry! But I want y'all to know that I love y'all and miss y'all. Sometimes it is a temptation to just pick up the phone at my desk and call home or send you an e-mail from the computer that I'm almost constantly sitting at... but I resist (not sure how, but I do it)!

Love you all and miss you bunches!!!


-- Élder Todd

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Circunvalacion 1 - Week #4

¡Hola Familia!

So this next week is game time... one of them at least. I'm currently battling the deadlines of Tuesday for everything that has to do with Zone Conference. Normally I'd be done with that but the visit and soon to come release of Elder Gregory May had everything switched around to this next week... fun fun fun! But to really be honest I love being busy, unfortunately I don't handle the stress nearly as well as I used to. (I guess that could be a good thing, because now I really hate procrastinating!!! LOL).

Anyways, Mom requested rambling but I'm not sure I can pull that off again. So here goes nothing...

This week was another long drawn out week with several trips all over Santiago. It is amazing how you can learn your way around the city fairly well when you have a map that sucks and a companion that doesn't have a clue where he is going either. Somehow we figured out our way to Santiago Centro in auto and back over to the part of town where Presidente and Hermana May live. All of this in about 45 minutes isn't that bad in my opinion... The joys of office life.

Y'all would be amazed at the crazy kind of stuff that happens in the office... but I can't talk about it because I'm sworn to secrecy, but it isn't anything bad... I promise. Some of the comments and funny candid moments just make the day go by a little bit faster... and are natural occurrences when you work in an office with just 7 guys all day (finally an office without a bunch of women!!! LOL). It makes mission life a little bit easier when you are always laughing and having fun!

I can't believe that Sean and Jared are both going home this week!!! Maybe then Sean will start replying to my letters... he has gotten pretty bad about writing in the last few weeks/months from what his letters to his family say. Also Jared hasn't written me in a while, so you might want to bug him to keep in touch when he gets back! (I guess I probably should use their titles until my next e-mail, but I've never known them as Elder Gilmore and Elder Hardy... LOL). Either way it will be interesting to hear from them once they hit home soil again. This week I'll officially be the only missionary serving from the Lufkin, Texas Ward...

This transfer is starting to wind down a little bit and we will soon be starting to pick up the pace getting everything ready for changes and all that jazz. It feels like yesterday that I was still in Lo Ovalle but it has been almost a month... I guess time flies when you are having fun!!! We'll be all over the mission this week with conference and everything, so that will be another learning opportunity in driving in Santiago. So far so good though, I've been driving a couple weeks and haven't hit anything yet... even in the tank of a van that we have!!!

This next weekend our stake will be having Stake Conference, (random fact: our stake center is home to a branch...), Elder Amado, President of Área Chile, will be visiting us... that will mean I've heard from 2 members of the First Quorum of the Seventy within a little over a month!!! YAY!!!

The next time anyone sees Josh, Ashley, or Cory (or anybody else from that group of friends) TELL THEM TO WRITE ME!!! I've sent letters to a few of them and haven't heard anything back... I've about given up hope...

Sounds as if almost everything is going well at home!!! USA tied both of their World Cup games up until this point (we got jipped though)!!! And Chile won their first game (1-0) against Honduras, we'll be playing again on Monday at 10:00 AM (local time) [9:00 AM Texas time]... Keep your fingers crossed that we win!!!

Also, hope you get to feeling better Mom!!!

I'm going to send a picture of the baptism that we had a couple weeks ago... I forgot I hadn't sent one yet!

I love you all and I miss you bunches! Talk to you next week!

¡Todo mi amor y cariño!

-- Élder Todd

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Circunvalacion 1 - Week #3

¡Hola Familia!

I'm beginning to echo Sean's feelings regarding the office in that we are basically a bunch of house elves working around here... It is amazing how secretive the work of the office is for the rest of the mission. It isn't that most of what we do here is confidential, because only a small portion is, but if you aren't in the exclusive club you don't have a clue! LOL. I love it!!!

First things first... I love the package, but I did not receive any jam. :( ... But I'll be waiting on that in the next package... LOL

As for the whole driving thing, I'm now one of the designated drivers in the mission... there are only 3 of us at this moment as a few of the office missionaries don't have their licenses. So I've been driving all over the mission this last week and will be doing it for a while, luckily a few will be taking their driving test again this week to get their licenses... It is super crazy driving in Santiago. The city itself isn't super huge, but it has a lot of people crammed into a pretty little area. It is smaller than Houston (so clearly smaller than Dallas) but I really don't like driving here much. Luckily if you are driving and you stick your arm out of the window and signal to the person beside you (with a smile of course too) they are basically obligated to let you go. In Chile there is a phrase called "permiso" or "permiso tío" [permission uncle... the translation doesn't work real well] that when you say it you basically get what you want. I LOVE CHILE!!! But, I'm still working on learning my way around too, so that doesn't help much.

Work here is crazy, I'm trying to get organized enough that I'm not completely lost, nor a complete basket case looking for stuff when deadlines are coming up. It has definitely been some work and it is still in progress. I've got a couple deadlines that I work towards but right now I somehow got ahead! We'll keep trying to stay that way too.

Sounds like everyone has had a pretty crazy week. I can definitely testify that this week wasn't as smooth as I wish it had been, but we survived and I don't have to work in the office today during my P-day time!!! YAY!!! Unfortunately that happens all too often as we have presentations that we have to have ready every week for meetings that President May has with the stake presidents, but I finished the one this week on Thursday (apparently faster than one has been finished in a long time). But it is all good...

Good to know the family isn't doing anything exciting for summer vacation without me... just keep saving up that money to come pick me up at the end of my mission! LOL. And have me a nice Blackberry waiting for me when I get home too...

I've got to admit, I kinda miss the humidity with the hot rather than with the cold. Right now it is a bright sunny day, which is really rare... We've been pretty cloudy here for the last couple weeks, but today there is SUN again.

Also, I almost forgot, that yesterday we went to the temple. There were about 30 elders in one session and then we had the great opportunity to have a little meeting with the temple president, President Lyon, and talk a little about the temple. All of the hermanas from the mission were there for the talk and then entered the session immediately afterwards. To get to go to the temple once in a while makes you really miss it. One goal I now have is to attend the temple at least once a month when I get back from the mission!

Sounds like a lot of things are changing in the ward with the future missionaries you've got... hopefully they'll get on the ball and get their papers sent off pretty soon. It seems like there is a thing that runs in a lot of families about brothers and sisters going to the same country, and at this time it seems to be hitting Chile for a while. So there are a lot of siblings serving in neighboring missions here... Gabe better get his papers in while the bug is still alive!!! LOL.

Well I think I've just been jabbering a lot this week... SORRY! Hopefully y'all can still make heads or tails of this letter.

Please send me pictures! My desk is looking pretty empty and lifeless right now, and it looks like I'll be here a while so I need something to liven it up a little. I think the family could do the trick!!!

Love y'all and talk at y'all again soon!

¡Todo mi amor y cariño! ¡Saludos de la oficina de la gran Misión Chile Santiago Norte!

-- Élder Hendrickson

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Circunvalacion 1 - Week #2


¡Hola Familia!

This past week has been a whirlwind. I clearly wasn't able to check my e-mail until today, but it was still good to get 2 letters for the week!!! We got a little behind on writing today, so I'll have to do it fast... for some reason none of the Internet shops were open (we went to 5 or 6) and there aren't enough computers in the office for the 7 of us here (5 office elders and the assistants to President). This last week has been real down to the wire, with deadlines and trying to get a lot of projects finished up. Proselyting in the office really takes a hit with the kind of hours we've been pulling lately!!! I'm currently working on getting everything organized so that I know what is going on and I can stay on top of my work. If there is one thing I've learned here in these last 2 weeks, balancing work and proselyting (like work and family later), it is that planning is KEY... there is no other way to do it and make time for both. Currently I'm working on learning it all so it is a little bit difficult, but I'll survive.

I'm sure my e-mail caught everyone by as much surprise as the phone call caught me. It was kinda crazy how it all went down! Luckily I'm liking it... this last week was hectic enough however that we didn't see President May here much. Usually he and Hermana May are in the office every Monday morning for a coordination meeting, but this week was a little weird in that since...

I'm kinda learning that the office has a few perks to it... I do now have my driver's license and am legal to drive in Chile. The only downside is that I had to wait in line for about 5 hours to get it (and that was with connections), and that everyone in Chile drives like they bought their license at Wal-Mart. So I'm looking forward to being able to drive after I watch the video "Drive Safe" that the Church puts out and says you have to watch... YAY!!! Luckily I thought the test was fairly easy... I barely looked over the book, but I still got 33 out of 35 correct. I still don't get how some people can fail twice...

I DID GET MY PACKAGE!!! I actually got it yesterday afternoon, but I haven't had time to go through everything yet... THANK YOU!!! Other exciting news for this week is that WE GET TO GO TO THE TEMPLE!!! The mission as a whole is going in 6 sessions over the span of Wednesday through Friday, so we are all pretty stoked about that.

Mom: I'm so proud of you... You are learning to use your technology!!! And you've even got your e-mail forwarded to your phone... You never answered if you were going to get me hooked up with a nice Blackberry when I got back or not...

Dad: I'm finally coming to my senses... I think. I've always denied that I was a little bit "touched" like the rest of the family... but as I keep thinking about it, I get more convinced that I want to work in the ER... so I'm thinking I'm a little "touched" as well!

Sorry to be mean, but I think that that is pretty funny that Gabe, Ryah, and Dillon got caught sneaking out in the middle of the night! I don't think I ever even had the desire to do that... What possessed them??? And I even think I remember Ryah saying something a couple of weeks ago about doing the same thing... I guess it seems alright until you get caught! LOL.

To finish up, I thought I'd just let you know that we will be having a baptism this weekend (if all goes well). Our investigator is named Matías and is 14 years-old. This last week he had a little bit of a rough spot in that his mom, with whom he does not live, told him that if he was baptized she'd disown him (in a round about way). He was clearly a little broken up about that, and still is, but he still has the desires to be baptized and has not in any moment lost those desires. So be praying for him as we finish up this weekend!

My time has about run out, but I love you and miss you and will definitely be talking to you next weekend (it feels weird to say that... weekend). Send me more pictures and keep me posted on the goings on.

¡Todo mi amor y cariño!

-- Élder Todd