Saturday, January 29, 2011

Circunvalacion 1 - Week #5

WORK, Work, work!

I'm officially convinced that missionaries need a vacation, at least office workers anyways! This week has brought around several big changes here in the mission office. Unfortunately, I can't spill the beans until after changes tomorrow night. After my interview on Monday I was a little more assured of my purpose in the office, but President tried to leave me hanging and planted a little bit of doubt in the back of my mind. Anyways, I've got a pretty good idea of what is going to happen to me tomorrow night, but we'll find out for sure then.

The Taylor's have now been assigned to work in the mission office for a time. Elder Taylor previously worked as a business consultant, helping corporations to improve and become more efficient... now he is here in the mission office doing exactly that. We are excited about all that is going on and the extra help that we have to do our jobs better and prepare for the big office move coming up at the beginning of April! Woot, woot! It is possible that this next little while will be pretty crazy (*wink, wink*).

This morning a few of us went out to Quilicura to play a little bit of Frisbee, the whole ordeal turned more into soccer & basketball, but we had a good time. A couple of the sisters in the zone got a little snippy and basically exiled us from the zone picture because we didn't have on the Quilicura shirts that they had made... Pardon Me!!! LOL. Also this afternoon we will be doing another office barbeque for our P-day to end the change off with a bang. It should be pretty chill and relaxing, and the food will definitely be good since our resident chef, Elder Driscoll, will be cooking.

Bummer that everyone's sick at home! That's not fun at all! I'll keep my fingers crossed that Mom & Dad don't get the same bug. You got my mouth watering when you mentioned Cooley soup... AHH!!!

Ryan sent me a letter on Wednesday, I think it was, and now he's 1/6th of the way done with his stay in the MTC... oh what fun! I'll see if I can get a letter off to him today (unfortunately it should probably be conventional I hope it makes it to him before he leave for the field). I was so excited to hear that he'd be leaving for the mission, and now we're serving together! Good to hear that his little get together was a success. It's kinda weird to me that he was set apart on Sunday but didn't leave until Wednesday morning, oh well, not my decision. And the whole being nervous thing kinda goes with the territory, I mean, this isn't a day trip after all.

Sounds like things in Gabe's little world are starting to kick into gear. He's got a job, practicing driving, setting goals, etc. etc. It's good that he thinks he wants to go on a mission, but he really needs to know that he wants to go on a mission. The mission isn't an easy place, you've got to be sure you want to be here or you won't stay... I've seen it too many times.

Work in our sector this week was kind of drowned out with office work. We are definitely working on refining the way we do things here and this next change will definitely be the refiner's fire for those who are still left (we'll see if I'm among those few). Carlos did not go to church last Sunday, but has plans to attend tomorrow. His addiction is currently stable, but he has definitely made improvement from a couple of weeks ago.

Good to hear that work is going pretty well with everybody for now. The whole family is finally working... we are getting older! LOL. Keep on keepin' on with everything, and send me some more pictures of the house! I want to see the progress. It's also cool to hear that something for the house came out of Chile, guess there are more exports from here than just copper!

Hope that everyone has an excellent week!!! I love ya'll bunches and miss ya too! Get to feeling better, we wouldn't want a whole bunch of sickos hanging around the house for too long!

¡Todo mi amor!

-- Élder Todd

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Circunvalacion 1 - Week #4

¡Hola Familia!

Another whirlwind week has come to an end... finally. This last week was probably one of the longest weeks I've had in my mission; it felt like it would never it. It's not that this week was stressful or crazy busy or anything of the sort, it was just a very long, drawn-out week. Now we are starting week 6 of the change and a few of us are kind of up in the air as to what it going to happen the end of next week. We have interviews with President on Monday and there we will see if he would like to shed a little more light on the subject.

Last week we were able to start sharing with one of my former investigators from the first time I was here in the office. I'm sure everybody will remember Carlos from as much as I talked about him in my letters home. Well, we are once again sharing with him and he is currently once again preparing for a baptism, the 13th of February. The big obstacle is that he is trying to stop smoking, and sometimes succeeds better than others, so we are working closely on that goal with him and so far he seems to be making a little bit of progression.

The countdown to take-off is almost over for Ryan! I can't believe that he enters the MTC in less than a week, and he'll be out in the field in less than a month!!! AHHH! He and I won't see each other for about 3 & 1/2 years. That could happen with Gabe too! **HINT, HINT**. It's good to see the change that he has made and that his family has made in this time that I've been away from home. I always knew there was a lot of potential there, but I wasn't sure how that could be awakened.

So Gabe is working for RMC again? What's he going to be doing there? I hope it is a lot less Facebook than it was before. And planning to get a driver's license. Woot, woot! (the "Aggie Spirit" has gotten shoved back into me during the mission). It is good to see that 2011 has brought about a little bit of change so far... now we just need to shove the mission preparation into full gear and we won't be having any problems.

Since Dad will be speaking in Nacogdoches tomorrow that means I should be getting a copy of his talk in Spanish, right? Sounds like the house is doing pretty good too. You've dodged a couple of bullets with the cold temperatures in the last couple of weeks... I miss the cold! I'd trade my 90-something degrees for the 20 degree temperatures right about now! Oh, and in comment to last weeks letter, I'm kind of disappointed that Jared hasn't found his future wife yet... I mean he has been at BYU-I for a couple of weeks! LOL. I hope he is enjoying it up there. I'm not sure if I'd like BYU-I, they've got a lot of rules (specifically dress code) that are pretty extreme, but oh well.

I'm waiting patiently on the mission stories. I know how the time constraints are; been there, done that, still in the process!

Not much other news coming from the other side of the world! We are pretty boring people down here, but we're trying to change that.

Love ya'll and miss ya'll bunches!

-- Élder Todd

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Circunvalacion 1 - Week #3

¡Hola Familia!

I'm still hanging in there just so everybody knows! This week has been pretty lax in the sector with a lot of work here in the office, as usual. On Monday in our weekly coordination meeting with President I had a breakthrough with my attitude towards the office, and now I'm actually kind of enjoying it here again. In everything there is a way to entertain yourself, and I'm finding it... finally. I've got to admit that I still get pretty frustrated with trying to train someone 8 weeks later than I should have in the first place, but what can you do?

These last couple of days have been fairly relaxed as to the work load that I personally have to take care of, so I've been able to run around Santiago quite a bit with Elder Gibson. I've got two of the best companions in the mission. We seem to get along pretty well, especially compared to several of the other relationships with office workers, so that is pretty good.

To help you understand a little bit about what I was going through last week, I'll explain a little bit about the office atmosphere as of late. Recently the whole face of the office has changed, Elder Driscoll is still the mission secretary having been trained my last change here & Elder Young is still the financiero, apart from them I'm the newest of the 3 new guys. Elder Andelin & Elder Romero (de Colombia) are the assistants right now, but I don't really feel the leadership from them that I'd like to... oh well... I've got to admit that quite a few of the aspects that are associated with the mission office run way more smoothly than when I was here the first time, but there are a lot of things that could do for some improvement. I'm basically here as a spectator, so nobody really takes my opinion on things very much... but I'm kinda alright with that.

I've been thinking a lot this week about my Patriarchal blessing since Ryah was planning to get hers last Sunday... and even with 2 inches of snow managed to! Good thing ya'll didn't let her drive up to Henderson alone, since that detail wasn't so expected. But anyways, I've been studying my blessing a little bit this week and it came to me exactly how important what it contains is & should be for me. Geesh! It is personal scripture after all! So what I previously considered a short Patriarchal blessing, has become MY Patriarchal blessing that is chock-full of promises and guides for ME!!! I've found quite a bit of help in this last week from what I've read and studied in my own personal scripture, it doesn't apply to anybody else, NOBODY, just me!

January 26th is getting really close for the Whitworth family. I'm sure Ryan is getting anxious/excited, lucky for him he only is going to be in the MTC for 3 weeks. Lots of missionaries enjoy the MTC experience, but I've got to honestly admit that I was not a big fan. Sure the devotionals with General Authorities are pretty cool, but the rest not my piece of cake. I've gotten to know lots of missionaries that enjoyed the MTC more than they enjoy the mission, it just doesn't seem right to me. Personally when I know how to do something and I'm not in training for it any more I find it way more enjoyable. The MTC is like training, you've always got someone looking over your shoulder and you are expected to do everything in the way they dictate instead of the way that you would like... just like training for a job! If there is one counsel I can give, however, it would be to enjoy your time there and to take in as much of the practice as you can get, it actually does pay off in the long run. (Just in case Ryan sees this.)

Our sector is suffering right now because of the work in the office and the dysfunctional relationships that surround us most of the time we are here. I guess I'll learn to survive. Elder Gibson and I were talking last night and we promised that next week would be better. I feel like these last 4 weeks I've only been a mediocre missionary, not necessarily giving it my all, and that has got to change... so the buck stops now! I love this work, but sometimes I feel like I'm getting stuck in the routine and it doesn't have the same feel that I need it to have.

Hope that everyone is having a better year than how 2011 started out. If it started out well it can always get better! I miss ya'll and love ya bunches!

¡Todo mi amor!

-- Élder Todd

Monday, January 10, 2011

Circunvalacion 1 - Week #2 (Otra Vez)

¡Hola Familia!

It's been one week back at what was the daily grind for 6 months, and I'm absolutely hating it! The office work isn't what is really bugging me right now, but there are a lot of other things happening in the office that I don't necessarily agree with. It is pretty stressful here again and I'm once again not handling the stress very well, but that's the way the cookie crumbles.

Monday after our office coordination meeting with President & Hermana May, I pulled President to the side to talk to him for a few minutes. In that moment I came to realize exactly how much of a special assignment my returning to the office really is... I'm not excited but I can't really expound much on the nature of the situation, let's just put it that there are several aspects that he wants me to work on changing here.

Normal proselyting missionary work has been pretty scarce this week. Sonia & Kimberley, a few of my converts here, were pretty upset that Elder Moore left, but we got the chance to visit them a couple of times this week and they are excited that I'm back for a while. Also one of the recent converts/young men from the ward, David, who previously hated me now absolutely loves me and I've got no idea why... I don't mind too much though, even though he is quite strange.

I'm elated to hear that the Whitworth's were able to go to the temple on Thursday, bummer we couldn't have been there. I'm sure Ryan is anxious to hit the road! He doesn't have a whole lot more time to get ready either, it will come a lot sooner than he thinks.

The house sounds like it is getting closer almost everyday. I'll be waiting to hear when ya'll finally get in there! And I can imagine that those books that Mom bought might end up helpful... but I still can't believe that ya'll are so stuck on the idea that you're going to raise chickens! Also I'm excited that Ryah is going to get her Patriarchal Blessing. How are the rest of ya on that (Mom & Gabe)?

Office life has been fairly difficult to get used to again! I finally got a chance to buy groceries, so now I've got a little bit of food in the house. I haven't slept really well this week between the long hours in the office and the giant sleep-over that Elder Driscoll forced on us Thursday with the missionaries from Los Andes (2 hours away) that had to come down to work on their visas Friday morning. Needless to say, it has been a pretty eventful week here in the office... not something I like. The work is rewarding, but I wish that we had more of a chance to work in proselyting as that is what really helps to keep one happy while you're here.

I love the mission, sometimes I don't seem so happy to be here, but I still love the mission! It's not easy, but it is worth it!

Love ya'll and miss ya bunches! Hope that you have an excellent week!

¡Todo mi amor!

-- Élder Todd

"Hurrah for Israel!"

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Circunvalacion 1 - Week #1

Feliz Año!

It is officially January 1, 2011, and I'm already starting off the new year with a few changes... (y un poquito de rabia)... As you can probably tell I've returned to the Dark Side of the Force!!! (aka "The Office). I thought I was safe as soon as we had changes the week of Christmas, but I'm back in my same position as before (kinda), training Elder Smith in everything that he couldn't learn without me. I can't really say that I missed it at all here, but what can you do?

My P-days for at least the next 2 weeks are Saturday, it looks like Elder Driscoll (mission secretary) still hasn't been well informed if I'll be here for 2 weeks, 4 weeks, or longer. So once again, I'm stuck in limbo waiting to see what happens next. With all of the changes and stuff I'm being forced to learn to be flexible! I can't plan for ANYTHING without something not going according to plan. Elder Moore is now in Los Conquistadores with Elder Diaz, so hopefully everything will go pretty well with them. I'm going to miss the sector!

Any-who... New Year's Eve was pretty cool. We had the chance to see the fireworks over Cerro Renca (my old sector) last night, the show was pretty long, about 20 minutes, and they ended it lighting a sign they put, similar to the Hollywood sign, that says "Renca La Lleva" (very, very flaite...[gangster]). But we got to see that at midnight and then we chilled for a little while before going to sleep.

I'm excited to hear that the Whitworth family will be going to receive their endowments and be sealed as a family, that will be great for all of them and especially for Ryan! His departure date is getting pretty close. WooHoo!!! Bummer that ya'll won't be able to go with them.

So I'm hoping that how my last 2 days have been, like Dad said, aren't an indication of how this year, 2011, will be!!! I'm REALLY hoping that!!! I'm starting out with pretty low excitement levels because of this change to the office, I'm feeling like a tool... but I'll live! We'll see if I can learn something else here in the office for the time that I'm here, or if I'm just here for another reason... guess we'll find out pretty soon.

Well I don't have a lot of news since I'm not still in Los Conquistadores and since I've only been in the office again for about 2 hours, so I think I'll end with this short little note.

Love ya'll and miss ya'll bunches! Please pray for me!!! I'm alright but I still need the help.

¡Todo mi amor!

-- Élder Todd