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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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Week 34

first week 1

Monday, August 30, 2010 11:16 AM

Friends, family, acquaintances, dogs, happy people, unknowns, daisies, and other things that are going to read this letter,

Life here in Minas is great. My new comp is awesome, although regrettably, I will not be able to send pictures of us this week. There were some technical difficulties and one of the cables was left alone in the apartment. Poor thing shouldn`t be without his companion. But yeah, pics of us next week. Sorry about that. But yeah my new comp is from Tegucigalpa Honduras. Evidently it`s a pretty dangerous place because his mom was killed by thieves. He is a convert, baptized when he was 10 and has one younger sister (who apparently causes missionaries in his ward to go a bit crazy :P). We are getting along awesome and teach really well together. He has 19 months in the mission and I really like his style. Very direct and to the point, but loving too. The other companionship in our apartment is the district leader Elder Lopez and his companion, a kid from Utah who was in the MTC right after me. This first picture I attached is of me and Elder Lopez on his birthday. But yeah, I`m really stoked for this change. We`re hoping to have at least 4, maybe 5 baptisms during September.

As far as mail goes, I got a letter from Grams, a letter from Jeff, one from a teacher of mine in the MTC, a letter from Leah, and a package from you guys with the usb. sweet! Thanks for the stuff and the turtle is sweet. Just fyi, I`m looking to send a package home here in the next week or two so be on the lookout...I`ll let you know for sure when it gets sent. It should be about a month or so in transit. I`m going to send home some unneeded stuff, a couple souvenirs of mine, and some stuff for you guys. :) Just really looking to unclutter a bit. I have acquired a small butt-ton of stuff in the short time I`ve been here.

My new comp is definitely the most obedient comp I`ve had which is awesome. Obviously neither of us are 100% perfect but we are both trying really hard and we are seeing miracles as a result. We have 6 people right now who have accepted the challenge to be baptized although half of them are having difficulties exercising the faith to go to church. And even in just first-time lessons, I`ve seen countless people in this last week start off by kind of grudgingly let us pass and telling us that they already have their religion and by the end of the lesson, they accept the commitment to read and pray about it. The way this gospel changes lives is truly incredible. I sometimes think where I`d be without it. The hardest thing is that many times the people don`t realize how much they need Jesus Christ and his gospel, but we, as missionaries, do. We try not to shove the message down their throats, but rather let the Spirit touch their hearts. Looking back now, I often wish I`d done a better job sharing the gospel before. Until I got out here, I never realized how important it is...or the absolutely eternal consequences of ignoring it. It`s really sad sometimes when people choose to reject it, especially if they have a testimony. For instance there is one lady who knows that she`s sinning by not being baptized and she knows that God wants her to get baptized and live the gospel, but she doesn`t want to give up her boyfriend.

In other news, Cy has died. I`m absolutely convinced that he has been sucked up by aliens looking for computer geeks for a nearby star system. :) If anybody sees him or hears from him, just let him know that he has disappeared off my radar.

Also, I was thinking the other day about how much I would appreciate having a little bit of sheet music. Everyday I go without playing the piano, I want to play it more. Therefore, if you could in your free time send sheet music of Beethoven`s 5th Symphony (if it can be found) as well as sheet music for Pachelbel`s Canon in D. That would be ridiculously good times 4.6. I think I`m only going to get 2 pictures off today. The second is of me. This computer is loading them really slowly. Besides I have nothing new to share, not until next week. Apologies all around.

Thanks for Ben`s address too. Good stuff. :D

Well family, friends, amigos, enemies, and small plants. Have a won-great-erful week. Don`t eat too much cabbage. You`ll explode. And always remember to pet your hedgehog.

Love to all.

Elder Deej.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Week 33

giggles

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 7:30 AM

Hey now family,

Well life is good. I`m currently sitting here in Tres Cruces because my comp is leaving. He`s going to be with Elder Young from the MTC. My new comp is from Honduras and he has about a year and a half in the mission. I`ve heard really good things about him. We also have conference right at the end of this change. Woo! I don`t know much else about my comp now, but he seems really cool. I`m way stoked.

Just fyi, I did in fact think of my bros yesterday when they started school. how sweet. This school year will go by so quickly.

I`m glad to know that things are going on nicely back home. It`s definitely starting to heat up here but I think it`s supposed to get cold again before it warms up for good. Quite honestly, I`m not looking forward to summer time, not in dress clothes.

Pic update. 1 is of my district last change, 2 is of my zone, 3 and 4 are the front and back sides of a souvenir. that is a machete case and I`ll have the machete shortly, but there is a member who works amazingly with leather and stuff so he sketched and drew and painted this case. It has a picture of Uruguay, the flag, the mission symbol, and the Montevideo temple on the front, and on the back it has my name, the mission scripture, and the dates of my mission. it is a great souvenir. We also got awesome t-shirts made for our district with a Uruguayan type flag thing on the front and jersey style (with a name and number) on the back. Pics to come later.

Anyhoo, yes, we still have our awesome baptism scheduled for the 11th, this family is absolutely amazing. The changes we can see in people and families is absolutely incredible. We also have a couple of people who have good potential to get baptized but we`ll see what happens. I`m really hoping we can enlist the Lord`s help and get this area rolling. I see a lot of potential, but we`ll see if we can find a way to tap into it.

About a week and a half ago, I got a 10 page letter from Aunt Margaret that really made me think a lot about a lot of different things. Point of the story is, I wanted to just express my appreciation for all you guys did in my growing up years. I don`t think I sufficiently realize how hard you worked to raise us well. And when I see people with no manners, I appreciate it even more. You guys are seriously the best ever. :) and thanks for the support and stuff while I`m out here. I received letter 31 but haven`t read it yet and I`ll anxiously await letters and socks. I apologize for the lack of spiritual experiences, but other than this one family, we`ve been kind of lacking on the spiritual experiences.

Anyways, I love all of you very much. Have a great week, and we`ll catch you next Monday on the flip side.

Love always and forever,

DJ

Friday, August 20, 2010

Week 32

August 16, 2010


Hey family,

Well, here we are in the last week of the change, once again...but wonderfully enough this computer reads my memory card so I can send some solid pictures to you. Word. I know I`m kind of behind.

Anyways, life here in Minas is great, well I`m actually currently in Punta Del Este on the beach area. We are having a district activity type of thing. It`s pretty sweet.

So anyways, life is pretty awesome. I really appreciate your thoughts and prayers this last week, I`m sure they helped. Um, so we`re all really looking forward to changes. I always love to see what happens in the mission.

This Wednesday we have a conference in Montevideo with President Arnold of the 70. There are going to be 5 zones there at this conference (the rest will have a conference on Friday) so it`ll be pretty awesome.

Ok, quick update on pics, The first two are taken on the Virgin Hill (Virgin Mary) right outside of Minas. They are both views of Minas/other areas nearby from the top of this hill. Number 3 is on the Hill of the Cross in Pan de AzĂșcar. Picture 4 is of our zone inside one arm of this cross thing. You can climb up it and sit in the arms. Picture 5 is of the hill and you can see the cross on top. That hike was hard. My thighs burned. It was about a 45-50 min climb and a 15 minute descend.

Yeah, so anyways, this last week we had interviews with President and it went really really well. One of the best ones I`ve had for sure. I love President Da Silva. He`s pretty awesome.

I came to the realization, partly, this last week about how alarmingly fast the mission is passing. I feel like I still have so much to do and learn. It`s crazy, but yeah, we`re working hard on getting some investigators to church. There is a lot of potential in this area, I feel, we just have to figure out how to tap into it. Hey, I`m going to send this email and type the second part in another email to send more pics..........

Hey, here I am again. We`ll see if I can get these pictures off.

So yeah second part of the email. Life is coming along.....

Pic 1 is a picture of me in one of the arms of the cross. There was a cross like opening on the end of the cross, and that is what you can see there behind me. Pic 2 is my nametag and the ocean. 3 is me and my comp by the ocean and 4 is me standing on the thumb of the hand coming out of the sand.

.....Spanish is still coming along well enough. I don`t really know what else to tell you. This week was kind of slow on the productivity end. I got a letter from Ben my roommate (he leaves the MTC in a week) and from Aunt Margaret. That`s it. basically, I thank you for your emails and your love. A happy birthday to Grandpa on Wednesday. Oh also, I didnt realize that there were two different types of socks in the package you sent a while back. They both work alright, and I use them, but I`ll be grateful for the new ones you`re sending too.

Sorry, I`ve not got much to share on the spiritual end this week. Just kind of a routine week with not much that happened, other than the interviews. Just waiting for these pictures to load.

Have a great week all of you folks. The next email will come on Tuesday because I’ll be in Montevideo. It`ll be in the morning...well unless for some reason I get called to train, in which case it`ll be in the evening, I think. I don’t know, just expect some email from me by Tuesday night. Good story. Okay, well that`s all I got. I love all of you very much. (and Dad, don`t worry about your cold in August. it happens to the best of us).

Love always,

Your personal missionary,

DJ

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Week 31

well....

Monday, August 9, 2010 4:51 PM

Hey family of mine,

First of all, I`m very sorry to hear about Toni...just out of curiosity, what day was it that they think she passed away?

Secondly, this computer I`m on doesn`t recognize my flash drive and so I can`t send you any awesome pictures. Last week we went up on the Virgin Hill near Minas and this week we`re about an hour away on the highest point in Uruguay. We climbed up this thing to this huge cross, but you could see the Atlantic Ocean and everything. They`re awesome pics but regrettably I can`t send them. I`m now so behind on picture sending. Speaking of pics, I`m glad you got the SD card and that it worked, I assume that you`ll be sending it back and we can rotate them (now that we know it works).

We had some good overall results this week. We had 5 investigators in church and 3 with a baptismal date right now and we keep finding these people who are ready, at least, to invite us in their house and listen to us. It`s pretty awesome but I don`t know how we merit all of these blessings.

We do have this golden family, don`t know if I`ve mentioned them before, but we taught them tithing and offerings (which is usually one of the more difficult ones), but they were completely willing to accept and follow, that`s always a good sign.

Good times on the jam. That`s really pretty awesome. Anyways, the bros start school in 2 weeks then. boog boog boog. Hey, so I got letters 29 and 30 this week as well as a letter...finally...from Kyle. I guess this is the 3rd he`s written. Fail mail system.

There is no hurry on the socks...I`m managing for now. And also, as far as the Spanish book is concerned, I don`t really know. I`m just looking for something relatively small and manageable, but this is for the advanced student. Nothing huge at all...just another little book to use for study time. There`s really no hurry for that either.

So yeah. life is going. I swear the mission is more for shaping young men into the people the Lord wants than it is about tracting. Yeah that`s really important, but before the work can really take off, you have to improve the missionary first. Obedience always helps.

I`ll be in (and currently am in) Maldonado for interviews with the President tomorrow. We`ll be having district meetings during that time as well. We won`t get back to Minas until about 8 or 9 tomorrow night so we won`t be working in our area again until Wednesday. Anyhoo, Thank you always for your prayers. ;)

Take care this week. Have an enjoyable time doing whatever the gummy bears you do at the end of summer. It`s almost over!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!! Gotta love the life of a missionary. Cheers!

Love Always,

Your favorite missionary.

Me

DJ

That`s me

Yep

Hee Hee Hee

Monday, August 2, 2010

Week 30

:/

Monday, August 2, 2010 3:10 PM

Hey all,

Well here we are in Uruguay another week. It`s been good. Last week kind of seemed to drag on again, more so than the week before. Thankfully we are spending more time working now. I always feel better when we work more and the time goes faster. We´ve had some pretty good lessons and right now we`ve got some good investigators. There is this one family that is pretty sweet. They just have to get married before they get baptized. The marriage will be in about a month and a half based on laws here. They are really just a nice normal young family. They have been living together for 5 years and have a 2 year old daughter. She never really had desires to get married, but they definitely both want to get baptized now and they are fine with getting married to do it. We`ve had some great help from the members here in this endeavor. And then yesterday we contacted into another nice family. We had a really awesome lesson with them. The mother is pretty staunch Catholic, but it seems like the dad actually wants to find the correct church. We actually taught the whole family, including the 3 kids. That doesn`t happen very often. I have no idea if they`ll progress to baptism or not but it was a really good spiritual lesson nonetheless.

Let`s see...what else. I forgot my planner so I can`t remember what I wrote down to tell you guys. Today for pday we went up on the tallest "mountain" around here, well it`s a hill, and we took pictures and stuff. It`s really pretty around here. Beautiful stuff.

Ok, when I got the socks a couple weeks back, I thought I told you that I also received the other package wth the hot chocolate and tide pen. Well if I didn`t tell you, I am now. I actually made me some nice hot chocolate this morning :) and then this week I got the garment bag, Dad`s card with the pics :D:D:D and a letter from grandma. Thanks for all of it. The pics are awesome. I couldn`t figure out what could possibly have been so thick and heavy.

Okay I am attaching 4 pictures. I don`t know exactly what they are of because they come from my Comp`s sd card, but one is (I think) a picture of the 4 elders and the member couple who went on the hike, another of the view from the top with the city of Minas in view, and another is 3 of us elders by some Catholic shrine. You gotta keep in mind that this is a huge Catholic hill. It`s called the hill of the virgin and there is a huge shrine of Mary at the top. supposedly people go on homage to this place and climb up without shoes or on their hands and knees or something.

Things with my comp are still going. We definitely get along, He says some pretty funny things. The last picture is the Mary Shrine

Um, thanks for finding a flash drive, but know that I can get foot powder stuff here. I`m going to get some here soon. The mission definitely requires one to live frugally. Not a problem for me, but I have to be careful nonetheless. :)

Well, life is pretty good for the most part. Feels weird that Patrick will be starting his senior year in a few weeks. Only one more year of forced school. Anyways, every day that I`m out here and teaching this message about the importance of the family and stuff, I realize just how important it is. I realized the other day that if I do all I can and reach the Celestial kingdom without you guys, that`ll kind of suck. Moral of the story...keep going strong and doing all you can and then we`ll reach it together. Good stuff. and definitely a good goal too. Have a great first week of August.

Love always,

DJ

^^^That`s me, your very own full time missionary. :P

Week 29

Parental figures and offspring,

How are you all? This week absolutely flew by. I seriously don`t know what happened.

Well life continues on here in Minas. The work is good. As much as I was enjoying it before, I`m actually enjoying it more now. We are doing some new things as a result of the conference last week and I`m really enjoying it. Yesterday, we had a first visit with some lady and put a baptismal date with her...the only thing is that she doesn`t live in our area. She lives in Montevideo, so we`ll be sending her information along.

The first picture on here is me, Elder Carlock and Elder Nomani (when I was still in Toledo)

The second is of the baptism we had here my first week. Sauce.

Anyways life is really good. It`s hard to believe that this is the last week of July.

Oh hey, I was going to ask you guys to see if you could find and send (eventually, there`s no rush) a really advanced spanish book. I`m kind of looking for more to study. I don`t know what`s available, but maybe you could look around and peruse.

Third picture is this last change in Toledo. Zone picture. Check out Elder Nomani in the back middle. :)

And the 4th is a good picture of me.

Oh and yes, I`m feeling better. Thanks for asking. I`m good to go.

About food, yes it is slightly different, but only in the sense that people here are more well off in general so we have tended to eat more expensive foods. That`s what I`ve noticed so far. We also have more desserts here. In Toledo, desserts are mostly fruit which is actually really good, but here they tend to have more dessert stuff (which if I described it, it wouldn`t make any sense). So just accept that there are desserts more here.

This 5th pic is my district in the MTC with our night teacher, Hermana DĂ vila.

Anyhoo, my comp is sweet and we get along well enough. Sorry for the lack of Minas pictures. We didn`t get out to do our district activity today. Next week, I should have some. Have fun this week and travel safely. Hi to all.

Love always,

DJ