Saturday, July 31, 2010

Circunvalacion 1 - Week #10

¡Hola Al Mundo Afuera!

¿Cómo están todos? This week has been pretty crazy again for us. Monday morning they jumped another leadership training in on us for this past Thursday and Friday, so de nuevo we, the Office, have been running in circles. This last week has also been a big culminating point for all of my work in the office... it seems as if every project and/or deadline that I work on either came due this week or is due this next week. All sorts of fun!!! Don't get me wrong now, I love this work and I love the office... but sometimes we get hit pretty hard. I think I'm learning a little better in how to deal with all of the stress now.

So Gabe and Ryah went to a concert... and Chipotle!!! That part I'm a little jealous of... But either way it sounds like it was fun. It really does sound like everybody is getting a little more freedom ever since the oldest has left the house for a foreign country! I'm sure after one is gone it is a little easier for the mama hen to let the other chicks out a little bit... LOL.

Just a warning about the package... You might want to consider sending either really soon or not mind it not getting to me for about a month (slow boat suggested)!!! It looks like Correos Chile, the Chilean postal service, is about to go on strike the second week of August for about 15 days, from Arica a Punta Arenas (that's all of Chile). They haven't had a raise for 14 years and are about fed up with it... so that ought to be fun with all of the mail and stuff we do!!! Either way, FedEx will still be shipping in regularly for all of the stuff that comes from Church Headquarters and all that jazz... You've gotta love politics!

Mom: I assure you that we are not going hungry... quite the contrary!!! During the week we actually have to pay for our lunch, una hermana de la iglesia makes it for us (but it is a little expensive). Saturday, o sea P-day, we normally eat in the food court of the mall (American food normally), or cook or something of the sort. And Sundays we eat in a member's home. So needless to say we do not go hungry...

Sounds like everything is going pretty well at home. Hope that the little vacation that you get to take is fun and you can relax a bit!

So I forgot to tell y'all something interesting that I recently learned... the new senior couple here in the mission, the Taylor's from Frisco, TX, know the Holley's!!! Turns out that both Matt and David served missions, which I didn't know, and that the whole fam if doing fairly well.

Also just a shout out to Jared back in what everyone that hasn't ever gone on a mission considers the real world... it isn't the real world, but for all intents and purposes we'll humor the other people and go along with the idea!

So about the proselyting this week. We continue teaching Carlos and he is progressing very well (bastante bien). These last two days he has almost completely eliminated cigarettes from his daily routine [I almost said diet], and is excited to be baptized on the 15th of August. Also we found another investigator that we had previously been teaching, his name is Ricardo. Ricardo has got some pretty big problems with the Word of Wisdom, but we are working in helping him out... unfortunately he is very difficult to find and a little flaky with the visits that we set with him. So that is where we are right now, and we are expecting to baptize, sí o sí, this month!

I really want to see some house pics and family pics. I don't want to have to threaten it again, but... IF Y'ALL DON'T SEND ME PICTURES SOON I'M GONNA HAVE TO PUT UP THE PRE-PROM PICTURES RYAH SENT ME AT MY DESK... IN PUBLIC VIEW!!! (If you don't for some reason remember which ones those were just ask Ryah to show you... If she doesn't remember then she can e-mail me for a memory refresher).

I love you all and hope that all is well! Let me know if anything big changes. Also, how is the ward doing? I don't hear from anyone over there so I never know.

¡Todo mi amor y cariño! ¡Os extraño mucho! ¡Qué estéis súper bien! ¡Besitos a todos!

-- Élder Todd

Monday, July 26, 2010

Circunvalacion 1 - Week #9

¡Hola Familia!

Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry!!! I completely forgot about your birthday, Mom!!! We've been running all over the place and for some strange reason it didn't even cross my mind. My bad!!! But anyways, Happy Late Birthday!!! You know it is kinda funny that a lot of people don't want to be recognized as getting older yet they still like the recognition of others when they do... I think it is either an everybody needs to remember or everybody needs to forget mentality, right??? I'm not making excuses!!! LOL.

Sounds like East Texas has been a hopping fun place recently. Sometimes I miss it a lot, and some days not so much... but it is and will always be home. But it does sound like work is going to be a bunch of fun with the changes and all. Is it a pretty big company that is coming in, Mom?

Also, Happy Pioneer Day!!! If I wasn't in the office with two missionaries from Utah I wouldn't even have remembered it was Pioneer Day today. But either way I'm glad the ward is finally deciding to do an activity to celebrate, since I don't remember one since when I was in Primary.

So the mission has been pretty crazy this week. We had Capacitación de Liderazgo (Leadership Training), Thursday and Friday for all of the leaders in the mission so the office was running around all over the place this week picking up food and all that jazz. Either way we came out of it with Subway on Thursday and Pizza Hut on Friday... not too bad if you ask me!!! It was pretty fun, but it has caused us to be running all over the place for a few other things.

As for the Zoo last week... Saturday in the zoo in Santiago, Chile in the middle of a 3 day weekend in the winter isn't the best of ideas! It turned out pretty fun but we didn't have a whole lot of time there with all of the people all over the place. The penguins didn't do much, the camel was gross, the polar bear was asleep, but the monkeys we up and active as usual... and communicating the whole time with the not so distant relatives! The whole zoo here is set up on the biggest volcano in Santiago, el Cerro San Cristobal, so the whole thing is either uphill or downhill... but it is really nice scenery and the exhibits aren't half-bad.

Our investigator that we have right now, Carlos, continues to progress. Sunday morning we gave him a call to wake him up for church and when we got to his house about 10 minutes til 10:00 he was ready to go with his Book of Mormon and everything. Turns out he had gotten home from work about 7:00 AM and had only slept for a little while and still got up to go to church. There are a couple of obstacles in the way of his progression but we are working on getting all of the kinks out before his baptismal date, the 15th of August. We continue being excited for him and his decision to accept the Gospel and follow Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Lots of prayers are needed in his behalf as we work with him to help him overcome the obstacles in the way.

I'm thankful for every opportunity that I have to share this Gospel and to represent Jesus Christ! I love this work and the opportunity that we have to bring a few of our Heavenly Father's children back to him and to his presence. How great and marvellous it is! I hope all got to read and/or hear the letter I sent to the ward, sorry it was very similar to the one I sent to the family that would also be on the blog, but I felt like the points I made were a few things I wanted to share with everybody... I love this Church, I love the uniqueness that exists in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I know that this is the only place in the which this Gospel is found!!! Remember that, always remember that!!!

I love you all and miss you bunches, hope that everything keeps going great and that Ryah doesn't get too excited for school to start in just about a month!!! LOL.

¡Todo mi amor y cariño! ¡Abrazos y besitos a todos!

-- Élder Todd

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Circunvalacion 1 - Week #8

¡Hola Familia!

So I just finished off week 8 in the mission office of the best mission in the whole wide world... la Misión Chile Santiago Norte!!! I'm starting to really like it here no matter how hectic it can get sometimes. Unfortunately however we are currently in the preparation phase for a big next change, with 17 missionaries arriving (that means 17 trainers) and 24 missionaries leaving... the funny thing is that both groups are all elders. Also we've heard recently that there are some pretty big changes coming to the mission from Salt Lake, we don't know what they are yet here in the office but I've got the slight inclination that we will pretty soon!

President May is in his last year as mission president and is really working on changing the focus of the mission. The normal schedule of things has really been up in the air this change with all of the changes happening and we are really having to stay on top of things here in the office to be sure to catch any new project that comes up on our already busy schedule. Luckily we still get a little time to have fun here in the office!

Today we have plans to go to the Santiago Metropolitan Zoo!!! Yay!!! One of the advantages of being in the office is that our P-day is Saturday, which means that all of the zoos, parks, and museums are open (busy, but open)... in Chile everything is closed on Mondays (P-day for everyone else) unless it is a national holiday, and then sometimes it is still closed. So we are going to say hello to a few of our not so distant relatives... (aka the monkeys... since we are all office monkeys)... and hang out with a little bit of the wildlife!!! LOL...

This week we've been really striving to meet a goal as a district and zone of completing with a promise given by Elder M. Russell Ballard a while back. He said that if each missionary will speak with 10 people everyday about the Gospel (people that don't already have it) that we will double our baptisms. As a zone we are striving to do so and are currently succeeding with no intentions to stop. We really like how the math works here in the mission, in that 0 baptisms doubled still comes out to at least 1 baptism. We believe that it is because of our efforts in completing with this promise that we were able to find Carlos this week, a new investigator with a baptismal date for the 15th of August. In the past several weeks we had found a few people, but recently all of them have ended with a lack of interest or a blatant disinterest in our message. But now we have high hopes that Carlos can continue to progress in this Gospel and eventually will be able to receive all of the blessings that Our Heavenly Father has available for His children.

I have a great testimony of this great and marvellous work!!! A few months ago I extended the invitation to share the Gospel with someone and I haven't heard from anyone about how it went. If anyone has a success story of when they shared the Gospel I want to know!!! Whether it turned out in success in the sense that the person with whom you shared accepted the invitation or in the sense that you learned something from you efforts I'd love to hear how it went.

Also I have another request for the package... Dad: Could you ask the Spanish missionaries from the Branch for un Libro de Mormón? Afterwards if you could please write your testimony inside, in Spanish and send it to me I'd love to have it to share with an investigator or convert!!! Please, please, please, please, please!!!

I love you all and wish you all the best. Sounds like work has and will continue to be crazy for a while, but I'll be praying that everything comes out alright!!!

Also Mom, Elder Moore really liked the inspiring words for the office! We Texans are really taking over and we are excited about it!!!

I love y'all and miss y'all bunches!!! Hope that everything continues to go well for everyone!

¡Todo mi amor y cariño!

-- Élder Todd

Monday, July 12, 2010

Circunvalacion 1 - Week #7

¡Hola Familia!

Change week is officially over!!! We only made 3 trips to the airport (1 with a two-fold purpose) and ran all over Santiago for a few days... but it was fun. I do, however, think that I'll be alright with not having changes for another 5 weeks or so!!!

Just to clarify the last e-mail... I did not get a new companion. I was actually in a trio before and my trainer here in the office left a little before changes, with a new AP coming in. Also on Monday we received another new AP, so now they are both new at this whole Assistant to the President thing. Also we received a new matrimonio in the mission, the Taylor's, from Frisco, TX (that makes 3 new missionaries from Texas this change). Además there is another new missionary in the office as pensionista, Elder Moore, from San Antonio, TX (I promise... we are finally taking over the mission).

So this week wasn't quite as crazy as I thought is would be, but either way it wasn't slow AT ALL. Unfortunately last Saturday "Ruby Tuesday's" was closed, so I ate Taco Bell instead... quite the trade-off, right?

Let me just say right now that I'm excited to see the house when it is finished! So if it gets finished before I get home you've got to put together a little video or slide show tour and send it to me, or if it is right before I get home I can wait to see it (I guess). But everything sounds like it will go great once it is all said and done...

Congratulations to Nicole and Amanda!!! I can't remember if I even knew that Amanda Pennington was pregnant... oops!!! Sorry... That's pretty funny that they don't have to get Elise a puppy now because of the new baby sister!!! LOL. (I think that is taking advantage of the system a little bit).

So this week has been a little bit slow in la obra misional, but we are working on finding more people to teach. Yesterday one of our investigators told us by phone that he and his grandmother (whom we were also teaching) would not be in town and available until AUGUST!!! Do you know how long away that is?!?!? I'm already 10 and 1/2 months done with the mission and in August I'll complete a year... even if it isn't that far away, it feels like it is a really long way away!!!

They say the mission is like a house (in structure)... the basic kind, not the whole two story Victorian kinda thing, but the kind we have here in Chile... you know the basic straight walls and a triangle roof kind! Back to the point... the mission is like a house. The first 6 months is the first wall ( | ) and feels like it takes forever... on a time scale, a vertical line straight up. The second 6 months is the first part of the roof ( / ) and goes a little bit faster. The third 6 months is the other roof piece ( \ ) and starts going a little faster, but on the downhill side. And the last 6 months is the other wall ( | ), but this time it is going in the opposite direction, going straight down. I'm about to start the transition to the other roof piece in another change or so, and I don't know what to expect! LOL.

So now that I've randomly detoured to the pointless analogy of a house I'm not sure where to go.

I love you all and miss you bunches! My prayers are always with you! And I'm thoroughly looking forward to receiving that package very soon...

Love y'all and miss y'all!!!

¡Todo mi amor y cariño! ¡BESITOS!

-- Élder Todd

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Circunvalacion 1 - Week #6

¡Hola Familia!

Sounds like this week has been filled of all sorts of fun, with the hurricane and all... as for us, we haven't gotten a drop of rain this week (which is rare as we are in winter here)! So I think all of the rain we would have gotten might have gotten transferred over to the Gulf Coast of Texas... YAY!!!

These past couple of days I have litterally been slaving away in the office!!! I mean here from 10:00 AM to about 10:00-10:30 PM, trying to get stuff ready for changes and all... So I'm starting to get stuff organized where that hopefully won't happen again next change. Thursday morning Elder Tolman got a call from President May which moved him out of the office and moved a new Assistant to President, Elder Swenson, in... so, needless to say, I've been working solo since Thursday and have inheritted all of the problems that already existed with my assignment (a few of which I didn't know existed)!

I'm still actually in the process of working a little bit while I'm writing to y'all, so I'm not 100% focused on what I'm typing (I hope it sounds alright).

Mom: It is good to hear that you are keeping contact with one of my families from Lo Ovalle. It is kinda hard for us to keep constant contact as we can only write on Saturdays, but I still try every once in a little while. And did you and Dad ever figure out if ADUANA was going to let you send the jam or not?

I can't believe it is the Fourth of July (almost)... to celebrate we are going to go into the Centro and go to Ruby Tuesday's as an office! We're going to celebrate the Birthday of America with some American food (a little expensive... but worth it)!!!

So as I said before we have changes tomorrow... that means that the office elders [somos nosotros] won't be sleeping for about 3 days straight with all of the running around the world, that we'll be doing!!! This is my first time to do changes from the office, so it will be interesting to see how it all goes down from this side of the system. I'm excited about being able to send off all of the old missionaries and get all of the new ones though! And they say that it isn't really as crazy as we think it is going to be...

Thanks Gabe for the World Cup updates... we are enjoying them here in the office!!! LOL. Especially now that we don't have the 2 missionaries that don't like fútbol here!!!

I don't have much news from the sector as I haven't been there much this week, so sorry... However, I am learning more and more the importance of planning and the advantages of having the organizing skills that I do. They are really paying off here in the office!!!

I love you all and hope that everything is alright at home. I hope everyone stays safe during this supposedly busy Hurricane Season coming up!!!


-- Élder Todd