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DJ with his new washer

DJ with his new washer
Piedra Alta, Uruguay

Ramon's Baptism

Ramon's Baptism

DJ and new Companion Elder Craynor

DJ and new Companion Elder Craynor

Monday, March 29, 2010

Week 12

Word word word, family!!


Thanks for the emails and whatnot. Good stuff. I also got letters 9 and 10 last week at zone conference (that was really nice, Two zones met together, and we had some good messages and good times in general) as well as a letter from Dad. Hopefully the mail is trying to fix itself. I still am not entirely sure how it all works here. I assume that Grandma is still writing at least occasionally, but I haven`t heard from her in about a month. Just let her know it`s not my fault and I`m thinking of her. I`m sending a letter to her today.

Cheese.

So I`m not afraid of getting mugged...but there have been issues with robberies. Not a huge issue, I just want to be prepared. Also, I`m praying that Heavenly Father will protect my stuff (especially journals and pictures) as weird as that sounds, it`s a righteous desire I feel so yeah. um. Speaking of robbers, we have one kind of shady spot in our area that is fine during the day but can get shady at night. The other night, Elder Apaza just had a feeling to go home a different way. Come to find out the next day, there had been some armed robber in the shady area. He had broken into some recent converts house and apparently tried to harm her or something...I didn`t catch much of the conversation. It`s nice to know that we are protected if we are righteous.

So this message is really scatter brained because I have a list of things to mention.

So something interesting. In addition to water going the opposite way here, the moon is backwards. In the US when the moon makes a C, it is getting smaller "Cautious" and a D is "daring" and it`s getting bigger. It`s the opposite here. Good story.

So I think they only have one law here for drivers and that is that as long as you don`t kill anybody or get in accidents you can do whatever you want. It`s crazy to the extreme.

The baptism was Saturday night and it was nice. I performed the baptism. Good times. It was nice and spiritual of course.

Um, so there is a lady in the branch who is Janice`s twin, I swear her mannerism, her appearance, her voice, her actions, everything reminds me so much of Janice. It`s uncanny.

The members here are awesome, but I feel so sorry for some of them. Some of them have next to nothing, material wise. One guy, Hermano Diaz is one of the nicest guys I`ve ever met. He feeds us every Sunday even though he has so little. He lives in a small house made out of cardboard and sheet metal. His faith is amazing though. I`m so glad that the Lord can bless people spiritually even when they don`t have a lot of material stuff. This Hermano is one of the most spiritually rich people I know here. That`s all; it`s just hard to think about how much we have that we take for granted.

Happy birthday to Velvet a couple of weeks ago. I forgot to mention it last week, but it is in my journal on the 18th. Cheers to her.

In case you are curious, I am inToledo right now. I suppose you can find that on the map. It`s about an hour north, northeast (I think) of Montevideo.

Oh, so I`m pretty sure the first thing I`ll buy when I get married is a washing machine. I have to do all of my laundry by hand here. Well I could take my shirts to members but if I do, then they`re not on my timetable and I may have to wear a shirt for a week like my comp did. So yeah, I do it all. Fun times.

Ok, that`s all of my stuff for now, let`s answer questions.

No, no new pets this week, although there are animals running around everywhere. It`s crazy. The computer is in a public location. Yes, I was dry. we had absolutely clear skies all week until today and now there are some clouds. But yeah, it`s nice. Thanks for the prayers and everything. I`m trying to just go with the flow and learn as much as possible. It`s crazy sometimes. rawr.

The assistants and secretaries have cars but that is it I believe. There are lots of buses that we take to district meetings and transfers and other boogboogboog like that. My district leader is from Roy Utah and his comp is from Tooele Utah. Yep, good story. They`re both really cool but the district leader and I get along really really well. Both sarcastic people ;) pdays, not much by fun except hang out and talk and clean and write letters and do laundry. Other areas sometimes play basketball or something. No restaurants yet, haven`t really seen any at all in our area. Yes people are friendly.

I don`t have enough time, I think I`ll write you guys a letter or something, possibly.

The shower sticks out of the wall in the bathroom and it has some pressure and we do have a little bit of hot water. It`s definitely not as bad as it could be. It could be a trickle of cold water. so yeah.

Thanks for the emails, the letters, the prayers and everything. I gotta go. Have a great week. It`ll be gone soon, I feel.


Love always,

DJ

Monday, March 22, 2010

Week 11

RAWR

Monday, March 22, 2010 6:28 PM

hello all!

Well life is good here for the most part. Let`s answer some questions first. I only got one piece of mail last Tuesday and it was Dad`s blank inside card (thanks for the pic). I think my mail is still kind of in limbo between the MTC and here. Hopefully the system will get fixed. I know I have mail somewhere I just don`t know where that somewhere is. In other news, we did not actually have the baptism last week. There were some complications in holding the interview which is alright since we didn`t feel she was completely ready yet. This week it will be. Yes, I am getting more and more adjusted to life here. I feel like not much surprises me anymore. We found a dead mouse on the floor in our house, a large spider in my suitcase, and a cockroach the size of Connecticut, so things just happen and I just say "huh, that`s interesting"

For food, I eat breakfast in the morning, lunch in the early afternoon, and dinner at night. ;) for breakfast and dinner I have a bowl or two of cereal and most every lunch is provided by members and they are really good with a lot of food. Wow, it`s good stuff. Mostly so far, it has been pasta in or with a kind of sauce (with meat, veggies, or whatever) good stuff, seriously. The grocery stores are all different kinds...in general, they aren`t a whole lot different from us, except more outdoor like and you can`t trust the fruit too much.

Anyways the weather has cooled off a little bit, which is nice. I`ve been having some small issues with respiration because of the load of smoke here. Compared to here, Colorado burns nothing. So that compounded with the change of season and general acclimatization is kinda getting to me. I`ve used my inhaler a couple of times. Nothing to worry about and it`s going away, so yeah. um, we do a lot of teaching and some tracting. We`re supposed to have at least 20 contacts a day so sometimes we do tracting for those. We found several good investigators last week so hopefully they will continue on with lessons and whatnot. The area book seems well-kept, at least ours from what I can tell.

Ok, I think that`s all of your stuff. Uruguay is really interesting in that there are motos everywhere. for every car I see, I see about 5 motos and 3 buses. It`s crazy. Oh, so crazy story, my shoes have decided that they are going to start splitting a little bit along the bottom. nothing to worry about though because I purchased epoxy and plan to cement them back together. :) They`re in great shape except for the split between the rubbers. I think it might be the humidity.

Oh they also have pretty much all carbonated drinks down here (even carbonated water, they call it aqua con gas, which is really bizarre tasting) so I`m kinda erupting inside all of the time. I didn`t hardly drink any carbonation before here. So yeah.

Oh, so Uruguay is generally beautiful and the people here are wonderful, however I think everybody here is missing at least one tooth, many are missing many many teeth. :)

Yesterday we got a huge rain storm...there was a little bit of lightning and thunder, but it was straight rain for about 3 hours. when we got back to the house, there was one spot about the size of my fist or so that was dry on my top. the rest of me was completely soaked. everything. I had been carrying my rain jacket around for a couple of days but it hadn`t rained. so I took it out and then got drenched. Not smart.

Life is good here in general. I`m learning lots, it`s all good. We had a medical exam for visas today and I got to see my old district so that was fun. Good times. They have really good trainers it sounds like. It`s good stuff. Have a great week, sauce monkeys.

Love,

DJ

Monday, March 15, 2010

Week 10

ooglie booglie

Monday, March 15, 2010 5:05 PM

Cheers All!


I hope it`s been a good week for all y'all. Things have been interesting here, but nice at the same time. I`m starting to get the hang of things around here, more or less. It`s way different than the MTC because there is so much more to worry about.

Dad: Thanks for your email, as always. The last part was really timely. :) There are definitely some differences in idealogies and whatnot, so I`m definitely trying to learn everything I can (what to do and what not to do). I decided to keep a list of things I want to do differently in case the time comes that I am a trainer.

Mom: We get mail on Tuesdays here at district meetings so everything that arrived this past week, I will get tomorrow. It`s only the 4 of us in the house. It`s interesting. I`m pretty sure this is pretty relevant to my blessing from Pres. Summers when he said "be flexible and adjust to different living situations." I don`t think I`ve ever been in somewhere so dirty and rundown. Anyways, it`s nice to have a place to live. I found an enormous spider in my luggage today, chillin like a villain. We had a little talk and then I threw him next door. Church was good. Of the four of us, 2 are new to the area, so the Branch President had us get up and briefly introduce ourselves and bear a short testimony during sacrament meeting. But the Branch is really nice...and pretty tiny too. But all is good. Actually, funny you should mention it, we moved our clocks back an hour on Saturday, so yes we should be three hours apart now (we were 5, Uruguay is one ahead of Argentina). Something like that. As I am writing it is 1:55 here, and I`ll be sending this within the next 20 minutes to be sure.

Ok, so other info time. The first week was good. I haven`t had any problems with all the walking (and it`s a load because our area is about half an hour away from our house and also it is the size of a small planet...lots of walking, so that is good. And in general, I`m adjusting to missionary life pretty well what with all the studying and lessons. We have a baptism scheduled for this Friday. I`m still trying to figure out the area (as far as directions and locations) and knowing who the members are.

So I`ve decided that they should let you go on your mission for a month and then let you go home so you can pack for your mission so that you know what you need to bring. Because seriously, I have a fair amount that I won`t be using for 2 years. For instance, I just put one of my suits in a bag and it`ll sit in my suitcase for 2 years. That way I`ll have a nice suit for when I get home because I really don`t need it here. I can get by with one. Also, the camelback is not being used. There`d be the issue of purifying all of that water before putting it in the bladder. So yeah, that`ll sit in my suitcase. But yeah, life is good. I`m glad that the President sent you an email and pics. He`s a nice guy.

Spanish is coming along well enough...especially for only one week. I`m probably just not being patient enough with myself. My companion says I speak really well, but I want to be fluent now...you know how it goes. Anyways, it`ll come with time.

Say hi to everyone for me. It`s time to go. Hope this next week goes well for all. Sauce.


Love,

DJ

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Week 9

uruguay

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 7:30 PM

hello family,


i am here in uruguay and i don`t feel much like using capital letters today. the travels went smoothly. it`s currently 5:15 here in uruguay and i`ve been up for roughly 14+ hours since we had to get up at 3 today to leave. crazy times.

i`m already with my companion. when we got to uruguay, we went to the mission home and saw a couple of presentations, had some food, and did interviews with the president. it was really nice. uruguay is amazingly beautiful and the mission home and temple are gorgeous as well. president da silva is really nice, as expected, and his wife too. so anyways, we met our trainers and then headed out to our areas. my trainer is a latino from peru named elder apaza. he is really cool and nice. he`s been out for a little over a year i think. the area i`m in is toledo, otherwise known as la tierra prometida (or promised land), i guess. we have a couple of appointments tonight at 6 and 7. pdays are on mondays (sorry this email is so scatterbrained) now so that`s when you can expect my next email. if there is mail here, i didn`t get it.

anyways, leaving the mtc was kinda hard since we`ve become such great friends with all of the missionaries there. it was especially hard leaving elders powell and young. we`ve been together for 9 weeks and we`re so close. in other news, yes, we did perform our musical number. i accompanied a sextet singing abide with me. my old companion, elder bradshaw, had arranged an accompaniment for the third verse. it was really nice. then yesterday was really different. it seriously felt like the last day of school because we were cleaning out desks and not really doing anything and such.

oh before i forget, president da silva wanted me to thank you (and i wanted to thank you too) for making the sacrifice to send me on a mission. he said that a lot of times we forget how much of a sacrifice it is for the family and just focus on the sacrifice of the missionary. so thank you. :)

anyways, speaking of sacrifice, our house is very small, very hot, and very messy/dirty. there are 4 of us in there, the district leader and his companion and us. they are cool guys as well. actually all of the missionaries i`ve met so far, which has been a fair amount have been really nice and all. i`m not scared of the mission, per se, but it`s definitely a new experience to get used to. and there is a lot to keep track of, on top of making sure i catch all of what my companion says.

in other news, i found out sunday that president and sister george lived in grand junction for 10 years in the 3rd ward. their kids went to nisley. pres george was working for ces and he helped to get release time seminary. he also played a major role in remodeling the house that is now our seminary building. they also know president chadwick and crista white. crazy times huh?

how is everybody doing? having fun during spring break and all? mail could be crazy for the next couple of weeks until everything gets settled down. just fyi. i think that is all. peace out until next week.


love always,

DJ (yes caps there, of course)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Week 8

last one from the MTC

Thursday, March 4, 2010 6:24 PM

Hola family,

This is the last email you will receive from me while I sojourn here at the MTC. Cheers. All is going well, but this last week went by pretty slowly. Not gonna lie. I think it´s probably because I am so excited to get out into the field, as scary/weird as that will be.

I´m glad to hear that you are now sending stuff to Uruguay. That is good news, but even if things arrive after I leave, they will forward them...eventually.

No, I did not feel the earthquake here. More than likely it is because I am on the completely opposite side of the country, but hey, who knows. I did not realize that Doug was in Santiago...I thought he was in Guatemala. Hm. Anyways, he comes home this summer right? Crazy.

Oh before I forget, I am going to be sending a picture home as well as letters for Calvin and probably Travis. Could you please send them on to their various destinations (not the picture, that´s yours). Thanks. It´s not feasible for me to send international mail here. Anyways, the picture I´m sending is of our group at the MTC. You can scan it and put it on the computer

So I was thinking the other day about how lucky we are to have the gospel. I don´t know how we got to be so lucky, but we are. Anyways, I hope that you are using my being gone as a chance to share the gospel with others. Not too many people will pay 10,000 dollars to sacrifice 2 years of their lives to get nothing material or concrete out of it. Anyways, that´s my thought for the day. My only one too...not too much going on upstairs.

Oh, so good news, I played frisbee today on my ankles and did not hurt them anymore. Definitely a successful day, and it was fun playing. They are pretty much both back to their normal sizes now so that is good.

Proselyting was good last week. We have a couple of appointments set up for this Saturday so we´ll see if the people are there and let us in or not. Either way, we had some good success last week in people being willing to listen to us. Hopefully we can have some more on this my last Saturday. It´s hard to believe that this is my 8th time going out, and that I´m getting ready to leave.

Anyways, nobody told me how Patrick´s Cottonball went, but I did get Chris´s email about track. I´m glad that they are doing a lot of stretches.

I´m going to miss the comforts of the MTC (such as the food, it´s been so much better these last couple of weeks, as well as beds and washing machines and stuff), but it´ll be a good experience heading out. I´m hoping that I get a good trainer.

Um, there´s not much else I can think of. Please send my regards to everybody who wishes them, and even to those who don´t. I hope the grandparents are all doing well. Please tell Grandma that I got her letter this week. Oh I also receieved #8. Muchas thanks. (That muchas was intentional, btw).

Like I said before, I don´t know when PDay is in the field so I don´t know when you´ll hear from me next, but I´ll let you know how the transition goes.

I hope this finds you well. Have a great week.

Love Always,

DJ