Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dorsal 1 - Week #13

¡Buenas Tardes a Todos!

I'm feeling in a Spanishy sort of mood this afternoon... We had changes yesterday and received some unexpected news in the phone call at 1:30 this morning (Elder Sáenz had to call 3 times to wake me up). We had changes!!! I'm officially only a senior companion and I'm still here in Dorsal 1. My new companion is Elder Mendez, from Mexico, and I'm super excited to be here with him! ¡Vamos a sacar la mugre!

Yesterday we had 2 baptisms, as hoped for! Ana & Francisca were baptized after a 4 hour battle with the water heater in the chapel. From about 9:00 AM til about 1:00 PM, Hermano Miranda, the ward mission leader, and I waged war on the tankless water heater (nothing else exists in Chile) and kind of won. It turned out that the water at the top of the font was warmer than at the bottom... LOL. But overall everything turned out very well, and Elder Fuentes was able to perform/participate in his first baptism in the mission...

I'm excited to keep working here in Dorsal 1. We didn't quite expect changes, but the whole mission got mixed up pretty good... This ward is getting more on the ball everyday and we are hoping for lots of success this change. Actually, last week we were able to teach a part member family (the mom is a member) who has started to come back to church and we put the dad, Rodrigo, and 2 of the daughters, Constanza & Fernanda, with a baptismal date for the 14th of August. They are an amazing family!!!

It's wild to think that alot of my friends in the mission have finished as of today (they will be on a plane headed home tonight or tomorrow morning). I think I've got 4 former companions that finished today... Crazy!!!

I can't believe that time has passed by so fast! Ethan is already 3!!! That can't be possible!!! Hopefully all goes well with his next procedure.

Good to hear that Mom had a very happy birthday! Wish I could have been there to celebrate with ya'll... Looks like I'm only going to make it home in time for my birthday! Sorry Gabe! LOL...

Bummer that the ward changes so much... I think most places are like that though, or at least that is what it seems like here in the mission. I guess Lufkin didn't suit Ben quite like he expected. And the Reese's, any news yet?

Happy Pioneer Day to everyone! We might be doing a little activity on Sunday to "celebrate", but I'm not sure as of now... a little last minute, isn't it?

I love ya'll and miss ya'll everyday! I'll be home before you know it, but I'm not counting!


-- Élder Todd

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dorsal 1 - Week #12

Howdy All!

Before I forget and since I won't be able to write later in the week I want to send a birthday shout-out to Mom!!! ¡Feliz Cumpleaños! I wish I could be there to celebrate with you, eventhough our family isn't very big into celebrations! LOL

This week wasn't too exciting apart from the interviews with President Essig on Tuesday. Everything went exactly according to plan, but I'm pretty sure that is the longest interview I've ever had with the mission president. President May was pretty good at keeping them short and sweet, but I'm still sure this interview didn't last more than 10 minutes... LOL. Sunday at church, however, had to have been the highlight of the week!

During this week we focused quite a bit on inviting and committing our investigators to come to church, and it looks like our efforts payed off. The attendance of our sacrament meeting was 131, more than I've ever seen in the ward (even for ward conference with 20 people from the stake present), and we had 11 investigators from our sector! The significance of that is that we only invited them, that their friends and/or family members (members of the Church) did all the work of getting them there, and that all of them live in the sector and can potentially be baptized in the not too distant future! Not too bad, right?!?!? We were super excited that we had to keep counting how many people were coming in to the chapel and watch attently amidst the mass of people for those who aren't members! It's going be a good couple of months for baptizing!!! The most important thing is that out of this experience I've learned something... working with the members really pays off, you've just got to know how to do it!

Great to hear that Aunt Katie's visit went off without a hitch, and that ya'll found something in Lufkin to keep everyone entertained! I wouldn't really have thought of the antique stores as something unique to East Texas, but when you think about it you don't see them much outside of the state... Wish I had been home to see the family!

This Sunday we will be having, not 1, but 2 baptisms! Ana María and her daughter, Francisca, will be baptized on Sunday! I completely forgot that the entire Hendrickson family was fasting when Mom was baptized, but now I've got another testimony of fasting... Hopefully this will only be the first of many baptisms in July & August! I've got to stay super busy so I don't get too trunky! LOL.

It sounds as if the lives of many will be taking a different direction in the coming weeks and months! Good to know that Gabe & Ryah are still working (even if it is at the same places as before)... We've got to see if we can't get Gabe out of a rut too and get him on a mission about the same time Dillon goes!

Just so you don't freak out about time restraints on getting my room ready, you've got 7 weeks! We're going to see exactly how many miracles we can work here in Dorsal in the next little while, there are lots of people here that are prepared to receive the Gospel, so I've got to take advantage of the workload! It feels great to be busy, busy!

Keep cool up there, I'm not having a problem with that here at all! I love ya'll and I'll be seein' ya'll real soon! Changes are Sunday & Monday, but it isn't likely that we are moved! That means I'll be in my last change!

Love ya'll and miss ya'll bunches!


-- Élder Todd

P.S. How are ya'll doing at sharing the Gospel?

Dorsal 1 - Week #11

"It's Independence Day!!!"

Happy 4th of July everybody, here in Chile to celebrate they raised the Chilean flag at La Moneda, not... they are actually celebrating the anniversary of the creation of the Chilean congress today. So much for Chile letting somebody else have a holiday for a change!

So all I can really say is bummer about the ban on fires and fireworks, it just had to happen for the 4th didn't it! Either way, you can't use fireworks in the city limits of Lufkin regardless... Either way, hope that you can see enough of the lightshow from the house, I wouldn't be surprised if Ryah takes it upon herself to climb on the roof to see the whole show!

The celebrations here in Santiago look like they really aren't going to exist. Bummer! Apart from that today is going to be a really poor day to do proselyting as Chile & Mexico play tonight as part of La Copa America (futbol). Elder Garza, the missionary from Monterrey in our same ward, is bound and determined that Mexico is going to win, but I sure hope not... It's very difficult to not stay informed of the score when the whole world goes wild every time someone makes a goal!

Before I get to commenting too much on your e-mails I'm going to start with how our week went. Up until yesterday we were having some success but a few of the focuses that we had put weren't completing very well. We've had a hard time recently helping people make goals for baptism, but thanks to fast Sunday that all changed... Yesterday I woke up not entirely happy and really wanting to eat, but I withstood the hunger pangs and pushed forward. At the beginning of church one of our investigators, Ana, mentioned to us that she wanted to speak with us, but due to the time constraints we weren't able to speak at that moment. The entire block of meetings passed the same way without the opportunity to converse. Right before we left Ana again mentioned that she wanted to talk to us and I stepped off to the side to talk to her. The conversation kind of surprised me as she had a fairly serious look on her face. The first thing she mentioned to me was this, "I want to be baptized, and I want you to baptize me!" WooHoo!!! We then set a baptismal goal for her and her 10 year-old daughter, Francisca, for the 17th of this month.

After this encounter I was speaking with Elder Fuentes and mentioned what had occurred. Without having realized it, both Elder Fuentes and I had be fasting for Ana & her family (among other people), that they might be able to take the steps necessary and be baptized to show their willingness to follow our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Let's put it this way... I've now got a testimony of fasting!

Also this week we had the opportunity to meet President & Sister Essig and their 18 year-old son, Tom, who will begin his mission in August bound for the Chile Osorno Mission. There were several very noticeable differences between the May's and the Essig's, but I was particularly impressed with the immediate outpouring of love shown not only by Hermana Essig, but Presidente Essig as well. The contrast is instantly obvious between the 2 mission presidents that I've had. I'm excited to get to know President Essig better; we have interviews in our zone tomorrow so I don't think I'll have to wait too long.

I'm excited to hear that the Hendrickson family is officially moved to the "Hen House". That's been a long time in the making, but I'm glad it is finally considered official! I can believe that the "house pets" (how dare I call them that...) didn't adapt too well in the beginning, but I'm sure the long staircase will be a source of lots of fun and/or accidents later...

Sounds like lots of things are changing in the lives of some friends. Jared is still at BYU-I and after a semester is still single... LOL. Quentin gets home very, very soon (I was thinking of that the other day) and will be headed out not to long after; I'm sure Sister Boyer isn't super fond of that idea. And when are the Reese's moving? It's summer, so that shouldn't be too far away... Am I right?

Stay safe with the burn bans and everything back home! Mom, I'm anxiously awaiting the drawings from your Primary class, hope they come soon!

I love you all and miss you bunches, but there is only 1 more fast Sunday before I get home!

¡Todo mi amor!

-- Élder Todd

Dorsal 1 - Week #10

Howdy All!!!

This has been a fairly uneventful week here in Dorsal. Training is going fairly well still, I realized that I'm not having quite as much fun as I did the first time, but we're making it through. There's nothing that can keep you on your toes more than a new missionary! LOL... It really does help that Elder Fuentes in Latino and I don't have to try to help him learn Spanish in the midst of everything else.

From the sounds of it my week was way more peaceful than yours! We've been busy teaching and hurrying from on side of our sector to the other, but it sounds like ya'll have been all over the state! Saturday & Sunday sounded way more fun than usual, I kinda wish I had been there for all of the excitement & especially for the Jubilee, but at least there will be a video of the presentation!

I just had the realization this week that I can now count the number of weeks I have in the mission without using all of my fingers... oops! The feelings that are coming at this point are mixed. I'm getting really tired of all of the jokes that the members make about me being trunky, because a trunky missionary doesn't work and we are taking out the trash (sacando la mugre)! I'm kinda ready to be home to be able to see everybody, but I'm glad I've still got some time left in the mission... LOL

What's up with Gabe & Ryah skipping out on church to go to Warped Tour? And travelling with a bunch of people their age to San Antonio to do so? That's wack!!! LOL... I don't know that I really missed out on much as I imagine there weren't too many bands at the concert that I like...

Good to hear that the move is still progressing, hope that everything can get finished up this week for Aunt Katie's visit... or at least within the next 9 weeks for somebody else's "visit"! Good luck finding something exciting in Lufkin to show the family, after all they did want to see where we live. How long are they going to be in Lufkin?

Tomorrow is the day we've all been anticipating for a while... President Essig arrives at 7:30 tomorrow morning and officially takes over a mission president of the great Chile Santiago North Mission! President & Hermana May will be with the Essig's for a couple of hours and as far as I know will be travelling tomorrow night. We have zone conference on Friday with the Essig's to meet them and for them to get to know the mission, and next week we have interviews.

I almost forgot to mention that on Wednesday we had the opportunity to have specialized training with the May's. It was more of a farewell than a specialized training and they ended up speaking a lot on what happens when the "mission" is over here. There were several points in the meeting that I teared up pretty good, but I don't think this is the last that I'll be seeing them!

Time is flying and pretty soon I'll be headed to Miami in route to Texas! Be sure to have lots of people waiting for me at the airport... LOL! Actually just ya'll is fine by me.

Love ya'll and miss ya'll! Try to get some rest after this exciting weekend...


-- Élder Todd