Saturday, August 28, 2010

Circunvalacion 1 - Week #14

¡Hola Familia!

I'm officially OLD!!! It is kinda hard to think that I just passed my "Hump Day". Thanks everyone for the Happy Hump Day letters/wishes! This week was a little more slow and tranquil, so that was a real blessing for my 1 year anniversary... not a lot of excitement, but I'm alright with that.

So Thursday came and went like any other day. I actually kinda forgot that I completed a year in the mission until a few other elders brought it up! It was work as usual, mostly just staying here in the office all day. Recently however we have been very blessed in our sectors, (the 3 office sectors), with many people to teach and a few baptisms coming up. September is going to be a month of white! Elder Moore and I are working hard here and are hoping to have at least 4 people in church tomorrow if all goes well, with the potential to have several more as well.

In this last week I've started to try to change a little bit how I do the work of the ministry. Recently we've had a lot of training meetings and we've been focused on several key points that the Church is suggesting/pushing that we incorporate in our work. Sometimes it is a little tough to change, but I know it is for the better and I know that there is no better time to change than now, at the end of my first year as a missionary. So far it looks as if we'll start this year off right with several baptisms and helping a few people "come unto Christ". Unfortunately focusing on these changes has pushed me back into the reserved mode that I had a little before and several people have noticed the change... I'm trying to figure out how I can balance the changes and be the missionary that I would like to be, but TODAY!!!

Sounds like fall in East Texas is getting underway pretty good! With football season starting back up (and Lufkin winning of course) and the weather starting to finally get a little cooler! We here in Santiago are finally starting to get a little bit warmer, there were actually a few days this week that we had short-sleeve shirt weather and we definitely took advantage of it! Also we are planning, as a district/zone/office (all the same) on having a Labor Day Barbecue this next weekend to celebrate. I think we are going to go as far as buy a small charcoal grill and cook out somewhere... LOL.

I WANT TO SEE THE HOUSE!!! When are y'all going to send me pictures? I keep hearing about all of these changes and I'm super excited about them, but unfortunately (yet fortunately at the same time) I'm thousands of miles away and can't see them. I'm getting my hopes up a lot about being in the house as soon as I get back, with my own room, bed, futon thing, and all the works... So now I just need to see what I'm coming back to, it may not be too different but I'd still like to see the progress.

More changes in the ward? I'm wasn't real clear on what they were but it sounds like a lot is changing up. Is McCabe still going to be teaching seminary this school year?

So Jared is planning on heading up to BYU Idaho? That is a little farther north than he was planning before the mission, but then again he knew he was going to find out what he was going to be doing for the rest of his life while he was on the mission. I really need to write that kid and see how he is doing... And working at good ol' Chick-fil-A again. Are Ryah and Dillon still working there? I haven't heard recently, nor have I heard from Ryah recently.

Sorry it seems like I don't comment much on what is in the letters, but I promise that I really do try pretty hard. Today I've been dealing with writers block, alot!!! And of course that means that I've got no idea what I'm saying, nor can I think of what to write... LOL. But I guess that is how it is sometimes!

Back to the missionary work this week. Yesterday was probably one of the most interesting days this week. We were in intercambios (divisions) and I was with Elder Young and Elder Barrett in their sector. Elder Barrett ended up leaving with Elder Taylor (since Hermana Taylor was sick) and working with him in the evening and Elder Young and I finally got to do some proselyting together. It was kinda funny because even when we were companions we didn't get a chance to work together! Also Elder Johns was in our sector with Elder Moore, leading it since he just left here weeks ago and knows more about it than Elder Moore does so far. They were able to pass by the home of a few investigators, Maritza and her 9 year-old son Benjamín. Maritza unfortunately wasn't home and they were planning on coming back later... BUT, Benjamín opened the door, let them in, and sat them down to have a lesson. Can you believe it?!?!? What 9 year-old kid would let two 20 year-old missionaries in his house with him alone and would start to talk about Jesus Christ, I think I've only met one!!! LOL. But he sat them down and offered to say the prayer, going on to thank God for the "Testigos de Jehova" [aka Jehovah's Witness] that were able to come talk about Christ with him (that was the semi-comical part). They went on teaching about baptism with him and had a full out lesson with a 9 YEAR-OLD!!! He even went as far as to invite them back for another lesson, so we will be passing by tonight at 7:30 to see how he and his mom are doing!!! LOL.

You've got to love the little tender mercies that randomly happen to us here in the work of the Lord. We find some of them comical but we really love them every time one comes around! I look forward to the experiences that this next year will bring in la gran Misión Chile Santiago Norte!!! (It still feels weird to say that I'm in my second year of the mission...).

I love this work, I'm not the same person I was before and I'm grateful for that! One of my greatest hopes is that Gabe can get in gear and start preparing for a mission, he could have left about 10 weeks ago (as long as you turn 19 while you are in the MTC) and it makes me sad that he doesn't even seem to be working towards it.

I love you all and miss y'all bunches! There isn't a day that passes by that I don't think about la casa (even for just a second) [not to the trunky point though].

Hope that all is well at home and we'll see you here in a year from Monday!!!

¡Besitos a todos!

-- Élder Todd Hendrickson

Monday, August 23, 2010

Circunvalacion 1 - Week #13

¡Hola Familia!

WOW!!! Sorry I'm a little late at writing... but we had a devotional this morning with Elder Amado, the Area President of Area Chile, and Elder Costa, from the Presidency of the Seventy. It was amazing! The whole thing was one of those surprises that President May just randomly brings up in a training meeting on Wednesday and Thursday. Turns out Elder Costa is here in Chile visiting with Elder Scott, and the North and East Missions got to meet with Elder Costa, while the West Mission and Rancagua got to meet with Elder Scott. So we were richly fed this morning, spiritually speaking of course, and we now get to enjoy a little bit of P-day!

In the devotional Elder Costa spoke on several topics that were a little unusual. First off he talked about what a Seventy is and what he does, then about the mission president, and then about us as missionaries. It was kinda cool to get a look into the similarities in the three callings, but also their differences. I loved what he had to say about us as missionaries and the talk gave me a little more drive to change a few things about who I am, both personally and as a missionary!

As far as changes are concerned... the first part of the week was a literal NIGHTMARE! I don't know why but there were a few things that went wrong, finally all was resolved but it was still super crazy. Yesterday was the first and only day this week that we haven't had to get up early for something this week, and in the afternoon Elder Moore and I had to drive out to Curacavi (a sector about 1 hour outside the normal scope of the mission that is only included because it is part of one of our stakes) so that was a lot of fun. We are starting to get some pretty nice weather here, I mean sunshine and short-sleeved shirt weather! So that tan that everyone saw on Facebook that has long since disappeared should be on its way back in no time (if I get time to go outside while I'm working here in the mission office...)! LOL.

So I got my package, and everything was there and in tact. I was kinda hoping for a handwritten note, but I didn't find one... Also I've got a request, but I'll let you know that in a separate e-mail so it doesn't always seem to everybody like I'm ask, ask, ask.

Right now in the sector we are trying our hardest to work with these few people on their commitments and get them prepared for baptism. The finding efforts haven't been real successful this week but we are, in my opinion, doing a pretty good job at juggling 12 investigators with only 4 hours in the sector a day (not counting Monday in which we had 0 hours in the sector). Carlos is slowing progressing towards baptism. He has still got to stop smoking completely, but he is improving. We are hoping and praying that he can be baptized next weekend!

I forgot to let you know that I am no longer companions with Elder Johns. Along with changes we also had changes here in the office. Elder Barrett, the financiero, is now training Elder Young (my former companion of 6 hours) and they are companions of Elder Johns. I'm now companions with Elder Moore, the Texan, and I'm district leader. It looks like President is expecting great things from the Texans in the mission because we are now the second companionship of Texans. There was previously another one but they had changes where one of them is now currently with another Texan! So we Texans are here "sacando la mugre" (por decir)!!!

So it sounds like Gabe will probably be getting his license pretty soon! And I haven't heard from he or Ryah recently. What's up with that? Also it sounds like school starting up ought to be a blast again... and a SENIOR! (Unfortunately that status doesn't bring the discount at restaurants).

Seems like everything is going well for everyone at home, and that all are super busy with work and all that jazz! Good luck with the talks Dad!!! I've had a lot of people recently ask me if you can still speak Spanish well and I'm sure you can, so you'll do fine. How do they do the translating thing for Brother Vercher? Do they just hook someone else into the sounds system or what? Oh yeah, about the picture... I wasn't ring leader at the time, nor do I think I really am now... LOL. I do try to keep us all on the straight and narrow though.

I love y'all and hope that all is well at home! Hope that everything goes alright with work this week, especially with the change of work and all that for Mom!

¡Les amo mucho y les extraño! ¡Besitos!

-- Élder Todd

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Circunvalacion 1 - Week #12

¡Hola Familia!

Good news coming from down here on the other end of the world (aka Santiago Chile): The mail strike that was supposed to last 15 days finished after 1... Correos Chile went on strike last Friday and was open again for business as usual Monday morning. So my package should be well on the way here, arriving the early part of the week... now whether we get time to go down and get it soon or not is a different story.

So right now we are about to start CHANGE WEEK!!! We have so many things that we've got to do this Monday & Tuesday that it isn't even funny. You've got to love sending and receiving large groups of missionaries... We will be sending out 24 missionaries and receiving 17!!! So I'm actually looking forward to getting to know all of the new missionaries on Tuesday, it is always the highlight of my week.

As for this week in the work of the Lord. We have had a lot of success in our finding efforts during this past week. I'm about to start learning how to really balance work in the office and teaching in the sector. We are currently teaching upwards of 12 investigators in 6 or 7 different households! And it is getting crazy. So far there is nobody super close to baptism since we've found 10 of those people this last week. We had previously been hoping for a baptism tomorrow, but Carlos hasn't been progressing with quiting smoking as much as he should be. Also we've recently verified a few understanding problems with him and are having to start back close to square one... the pre-interview (practice) that we did the other night left Elder Johns and I more shocked and embarrassed than any other interview and/or practice interview we've ever had. But we are staying excited and willing to do whatever possible to help him keep/start progressing again!

Also within these 10 new investigators we have found 3 families. One of the families is a Peruvian family of 4 females, 3 of which have recently arrived from Peru within the last couple months... from what I've learned the Peruvian people are more responsive to our message. Also we found a mom and son who had previously shared a little bit with missionaries and another older couple who also had shared with missionaries. It is awesome to find families, even if they are your typical nuclear family (mom, dad, and kids)!!!

So Galveston sounds like it was lots of fun. It would be nice to have a beach house... until the next hurricane hits down there!!! LOL. I wouldn't mind it if for some reason I was close to down there with Med School and stuff like that. The more I really think about specializing, the more I'm set on Pediatric Emergency Medicine! I know... Dad has already reassured me that to work in the ER you've got to be crazy, but I'm embracing it now so it's all good!!!

Also it sounds like the Lufkin Ward has a lot of changing faces! Four new families if I counted correctly. And I imagine that you said Jenny Judkins because it is the Jenny Judkins that I know... Am I right??? Or was that just a major coincidence? And if so, I guess she isn't Jenny Judkins anymore...

Uh-oh!!! Sandra is asking about when my birthday is... When she did that with Elder Davenport they showed up in the ward where he is and took him something!!! LOL. That family is so crazy, but I love them... Y'all need to do your best to push them towards the temple (through Facebook), they really need the blessings of the temple in their family. And I want to be there to see them get sealed!!! (A little selfish, right?).

So I've just got to admit... These letters get more and more interesting every week. I love how you can not hear from somebody for almost a year and then all of a sudden the next thing you hear is that they are moving or something like that... LOL. I really do enjoy the way it feels as if everything at home has just stopped while you're away from a while! All of the changes that happen feel like they are overnight!!!

I can't really think of anything else to tell you! I think I'll send a picture or two and I'll be getting a few more out next weekend... I love y'all and miss y'all!!! Hope all is well at home. And I really look forward to getting that package of goodies this week!!!

¡Con todo el amor y cariño que puedo dar!

-- Élder Hendrickson

Monday, August 9, 2010

Circunvalacion 1 - Week #11

What's Up Fam.???

I feel like I keep starting my letters out the same way, and I'm not really sure how to change them up... Y'all just saw my vain attempt at throwing in a little something different. Before I forget I just wanted to give a shout out to the Moore Family from San Antonio, Texas!!! I love your son and I'm really getting the opportunity to know Elder Moore a little bit while working here alongside him in the mission office!

While the family is relaxing a little bit on a short mini vacation I'm still slaving away. This week unfortunately was worse than the last couple of weeks in terms of the office work load and the amount of time we had in our sector! I can't really say that this week was so crazy because every week has turned into a crazy week since I got to the office. So what was before considered a crazy week is now considered a "normal" week. But I can't complain too much as I was only working super late 1 night this week. Thursday and Friday the mission had Zone Conference, with Elder Johns and I attending on Thursday. The Conference was great and a lot of the big changes that will soon be happening in the mission were finally announced. It seems as if there are quite a few changes in regards to the schedule that are coming down from Salt Lake City that will free up a lot of President May's time, and allow him to be out in the field with the individual missionaries a little more often.

Sounds like the ward is changing a lot, with people moving out and all. Are there any new families coming in? And has Bishop Adams read my letter to the ward yet? Hope all of the church assignments and callings are going well and that nothing to crazy is happening without me...

So I have not received a letter from Ryah in a long time... I think since right around the beginning of summer! What's up with that?!?!?

I feel like I've finally been updated with all of the goings on in the homestead... Dad's e-mail was very informative.

So this week President changed the rule on new investigators to go back to the definition of Preach My Gospel. Thursday night we found a new investigator by the new definition and it felt so much like we were cheating! But on the other hand we found another new investigator on Tuesday, her name is Margarita. She is great. I've only been able to share with her once, before she was nueva, but we have high hopes for her.

The office as a whole plans on baptizing 5 people this month, so we are working closely in hopes to complete our part and bring at least 2 souls unto Christ! I love this work! It is hard, but it is worth it. There are many days that we get to the house, plan, and we are completely worthless afterwards because of all of the energy that we had to put out during the day. I wouldn't trade it for anything! In fact it is kinda sad to see several of the missionaries having to leave a week from Monday, including Elder Lenhart, who was in my first sector and is now here in the office with me. But that is how it happens, we give 2 years now in the field, and the rest of our lives in other places helping to bring the Gospel that we are so blessed to have to others.

I love you all and miss you all!!! Hope all is well at home and that you had fun in Galveston!

¡Todo mi amor y cariño! ¡Besitos a todos, especialmente Belli y Beau!

-- Élder Todd