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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

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Week 42

Hey family!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010 1:44 PM

Well that was an exciting subject line. Woo. I almost feel like it was a salutation. Whaddaya know. Anyways, how`s everybody doing in the cooling down, slightly more populated northern hemisphere? Down here, we southerners are stealing all of your heat and now my brains are starting to leak out my face. WOO HOO!!!!!

Anyways, thanks for the letters...um I mean emails...well I mean letters too. I got 38 last week and 39 this week. This past week has been wonderfully exciting. We found 12 new people, new investigators...that is to say, we taught a lesson and got a return appointment with 12 new people this past week. And some of them have some pretty awesome potential to keep going. I`m pretty excited as it looks like this area has some serious potential. We also taught over 30 lessons which may or may not seem like a lot to you, but considering that the week before, the other two elders taught barely 20 (and half were to less actives), I`d say we`ve taken a step in the right direction. As far as my comp goes, he`s pretty awesome to be completely honest. We`re getting along really well and we aren`t having nearly the problems I thought we`d be having considering his history. When President da Silva told me about the special change he advised me to be open with my new comp and explain that I was being sent to be his comp in order to help him be more obedient. So I did it that first day when I got there and I think it really helped to start our companionship off on the right foot and create an atmosphere of openness and trust. Sauce.

So like I was saying, we`re having a good time and I really enjoy working with Latinos because (as bad as this may sound) I don`t have to worry about getting nervous and antsy listening to poor gringo Spanish. Yeah it`s something I need to be more tolerant of and work on but it seriously makes me a little bit nervous when I listen to noticeably poor Spanish.

Boo poo on your mother`s monkey.

So anyways, I got word in one of the emails I think that Grandpa now has a cane. How`s that going? Speaking of which, I sent a letter out to him, but sent it to the house as I didn`t know his address. Just fyi. That`s why said letter will be addressed Grandpa. :D

Yep the work is progressing in this area, thankfully. We had 4 investigators in church yesterday which happened to be a stake conference broadcast. Elders Ballard and Packer spoke. It was really good. One of the biggest problems is that there are so many people who have to get married...or divorced first in order to be able to get married.

Since I`m back in the country on the outskirts of Montevideo, I am once again host to a variety of bizarre animal stories. For instance, the other day we were doing a contact (knocking doors) and this dog comes up in between my comp and me, jumps up on the fence and starts barking...so we totally did a contact with a dog. Woo! We also like to do the contact to random animals and plants (those obviously don`t count but they are fun). For instance, the other day we invited two dogs to be baptized. :D I`m not sure if they accepted or declined.

Um, so remember that garment bag, yeah well I was zipping it up yesterday and it had come undone and so the zipper thingymahoobob came flying off the top and sadly it required an hour and a half to fix...stupid thing. I actually ended up opening the whole zipper and then zipping it back up BY HAND. UBERFAIL. But yeah, it`s fixed. No worries. Just a good story. hey so thanks for sending shoes and flipflops. that`s real swell of all y`all. I realized the other day that the way my bag hangs kind of rubs on my right hip and now I have a hole in one of my white shirts. Oots (that`s Elder Lopez`s way of saying oops because he can`t say it correctly).

Let`s see quick picture update. FYI, this computer loads them faster so I`m not actually downsizing them. The first 4 are of the other cake I had for my birthday courtesy of the wife of the second counselor in the Bishopric in Minas. Look at the size of that thing. FREAK MAN THAT WAS A GOOD CAKE. Yeah, you can see how big half the cake is in comparison to my wallet and my dictionary right there. Wow, it was huge. and tasty. mmmmmmm. Then the other cake (the chocolate with things on top`) was a cake I had at my party that night (the second of two cakes that night). And then there`s a picture of Elder Sosa holding a sheep. just for kicks and giggles. And the last picture is of me after the buzzer system I was using died in the middle of my haircut. Oops. I look like I could be from the three stooges. Anyways, I had to wait for the thing to recharge before finishing. Good story.

Yes I think they celebrate Halloween here but it may be different. FYI, the agendas I`m talking about are a missionaries life. It`s where we keep all appointments and stuff. and I also had written different notes and stories that I wanted to remember from each day. Also the names of investigators...all types of memory stuff but hey what can you do.

Anyways, thanks for everything. I`ll be back in a week and it`ll be November. Wow. Cool stuff. Take care and remember that puppies are not for kicking!....well in most cases. :D

Love always,
DJ

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Week 41

Really interesting week...keep reading for more details.

Monday, October 18, 2010 1:44 PM

Hey family,

Well this has been a really interesting week. You`ll be pleased to know that I am now working in an area that is 100 kilometers away from where I was working when I sent the last email...and no, changes were not this past week. I was involved in a special change call that sent me back to my first zone of MaroƱas, but in a different area. My new area of Prosperidad is located along the Route 8 in case you are wondering and the two missionaries that were here were unfailingly failing. They obviously did something which caused President Da Silva to initiate this special change call. The two missionaries are one step away from being sent home...or so I heard by way of the assistants. And now one of them is my comp. Oops. We had interviews with the President (in my old zone) on Friday, during which he told me that the Lord had told him that my comp and I were going to be involved in this special change (split up the screwball). My comp stayed in Minas and acquired one screwball. And I came here. The President told me that he knows that obedience is one of my strong points and that I was sent here to help my new comp-Elder Matamoros from Honduras-be more obedient. It was kind of sad to leave because I had absolutely no time to say goodbye to anybody in Minas. We got home at 9:30 Friday night from interviews and I left at 6:00 Saturday morning, after packing until midnight. Oh well. I`m trying to figure out what the Lord`s purpose is for me here. This area is pretty much destroyed, in the sense that missionary work is for the most part non-existent. We have 5 investigators I think. In Minas, we had 5 with a baptismal date. Also I was sad to leave because I won`t be around for the awesome baptisms we were set to have in Minas. Oh well. There is a purpose in everything.

Other sad news I have is that I managed to leave my backpack in Tres Cruces on Saturday when we did our little special change. So I lost a towel, my flipflops, my filter waterbottle from the mission, and my box full of letters and agendas. Yes, I lost all of the letters and old missionary agendas I had. I apologize to everybody it affected. I lost my birthday cards, pictures from Bernie, and whatever else was contained in those letters (the patches too that you had sent, but that`s not a huge deal). Oh well. It makes me sad but I`m grateful that I didn`t lose anything more important, like clothes or other things like that. As of right now, I`m showering in my rubber rain boots. :D Thus, I have a small request of a cheap pair of flipflops (size 14 if you can find them, but 13s will work in a pinch as my feet down have to fit in them per se). You can send them snail mail as I do have something to shower in for now. I`ll probably take out a little bit of money and buy a cheap towel here somewhere...at least I still have my other one. The only irreplaceable thing is all the memories from the agendas and the letters. Oh well.

Anyways, this Branch is really tiny. While you guys had 320 in church yesterday, I don`t know if we even had 30. But they`re all really nice and it seems like a good little Branch. Like I said, the area needs a lot of help, so I`m going to try and do what I can while not creating a bad relationship with my comp. So far we`ve been doing alright. I`ll keep you posted for sure.

Has Jake Barney sent his papers in yet?

Given that I lost all of my letters (and the paper of addresses), I no longer have any addresses. Could I possibly get those again?

Hey good story about an investigator in Minas before I left. Last Sunday we had fast and testimony meeting. When we went for our lesson on Tuesday, the guy started telling us that he didn`t like how people got up and related a story or something because he said that wasn`t a testimony...it was a story. I thought of mom and I thought it was funny that an investigator knew that, but a lot of members don`t.

I have included 4 pics of my new house...my first withy only 2 elders. It`s actually a pretty nice house and it probably has the only carpet in Uruguay in our bedroom. So yeah, I really like the house...I wonder how long I`ll be here. Um, other than what I`ve already told you, not much has happened ;) Life is good for now. My new area is huge...covers about 7 kilometers along the route. Obviously most of the houses are located along the route and not too far off it, but it`s still a lot of walking. Oh well. I`m used to it.

That`s all I`ve got for now. I`ll be writing again in a week (no surprise there) and hopefully I won`t have moved areas again. Fingers crossed. Take care for now. Thanks again for everything. :D

Love always,

DJ

Monday, October 11, 2010

Week 40

another fun week

Monday, October 11, 2010 9:49 AM

Hey giggles and family.

Well another week of wonderful life has passed here in Minas. Things are going well as far as missionary work is concerned. I´ll clarify what I mean by that later. Yesterday we had another investigator family in church. These 2 are an older couple and are awesome. They were all set to be baptized about 30 years ago but weren`t married and so they left the church scene...with some bitterness I think. Anyways a couple weeks back we contacted into them and they told us their story. They also told us that 8 years ago they got married and so they are now all set to get baptized (and are willing to as well!) It`s amazing how the Lord prepares people. So they went to church yesterday and she actually got up and bore her testimony and it was really good. I was shocked and impressed. They were going to get baptized the 23rd but we have stake conference that week and all of the members will be in Maldonado that day. So they`ll get baptized the 30th...hopefully with another lady we have too. This other lady also received the missionaries before because she already had a Book of Mormon when we met her. We were actually having a lesson with a recent convert one day who is her neighbor and all of a sudden this lady walks in to chat with her friend. Well she ended up receiving the first lesson and loved it so much that the two of them came together to church the next week. This is actually 2 miracles because that Sunday was the first Sunday I had ever seen the recent convert in church as well. :)

Other than them, we actually have 2 more people with baptismal dates and we`re continually finding more. This last week we had a zone goal of 6 new investigators per companionship. We had 3 as of yesterday, but we went out working with faith and good attitudes and the Lord managed to help us find 3 new ones yesterday alone. They are pretty solid too, from the looks of it. I`ll let you know in the coming weeks what is going on with them. I`ve really just decided that our message is powerful and it makes so much sense. Every time I teach I am amazed at the sensibility and simplicity of our message. If God called prophets in olden days. Why the heck wouldn`t He call them today. DUH! I feel sad for the people who are confused by all of the many religions, but who aren`t willing to do anything to fix their confusion. We show up with all the tools to help them and instead they slam the door and refuse to be helped. Oops.

I got letters 35,36,37 and my ballot....as well as letters from Grandma, Holly, and Calvin. Question. in Mom`s letter about the RS broadcast, she said that all of the wards were bringing salads and that the stake was providing a huge tossed salad....um is our stake suddenly huge on vegetarianism or something? But yeah. I`ll send the ballot out tomorrow and hopefully it gets there on time.

Hey can you send me Travis` address again. I may have lost it. Oh and let me know if these pictures are better. One is a zone picture from last change. The other large group pics are at my birthday party. I`m holding a guinea pig in one. 3 are at conference and the last one is in the back of a taxi. Oh also the first one is at Punta del Este. Don`t remember if I included it before.

Anyhoo, the new elder is from the states but his parents are Latinos, therefore he speaks Spanish and English perfectly.

Well that`s all for this week. Enjoy the pics. I love you guys a lot. Thanks for all the support. Take care.

Love always,

DJ

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Week 39

monkey

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 6:21 AM

Hey family,

I do not have a new comp and I am not moving areas. Despite this, I am currently in Montevideo in Tres Cruces because my comp is the new district leader and he had a meeting this morning. Word. It`s kind of cool. I`m here and able to talk to all of the other missionaries. On the minus side, I had to get up at 3:45 this morning. Fail sauce. It wouldn`t be so bad, but I`m kind of sick with a head cold right now and I need all the sleep I can get.. My stupid allergies attacked again. Uberfail.

But yeah, conference was really good, and it went by fast. I definitely agree...two huge themes were agency and prophets. It was a really good conference though. When Elder Nelson gave his talk in priesthood and he asked all of the missionaries to stand up, our whole room stood up and cheered.. Woo! I really enjoyed Elder Uchtdorf`s talk on pride. It was really good. Yeah, so there were some really good talks, in general. It`s funny because I have met half the guys who said prayers almost. Elder Zivic, Aidukatis, Gaverette (He`s from Minas and we`re doing a service project for his mom here soon), and others. And Elder Arnold is our new area president.

Well, yes I`m definitely 20 years old now. Oops. The brownies are good still soft and awesome. The rest of the stuff is great too. That Spanish book is really great. and yeah, we did have a party with the neighbor of the members. She made a really awesome lemon cake. It was a great time. I`m not sending pics this week because I didn`t bring my photo thingy to Tres Cruces. However, you didn`t tell me about last week`s pics. Could they be seen alright?

I apologize for the discrepancies in last week`s email. I obviously did not know that I was getting a new companion or anything. I recall having written something confusing, but yeah, I am definitely still with my comp which is cool. He`s a good guy although he periodically does moronic things. I guess we all do. Elder Lopez is the only one leaving actually..The other gringo and I went to the zone leaders’ house over the weekend to watch conference in English at the stake center.

I have not received any mail (therefore no ballot) for about 2 weeks. With any luck it`ll be in this next group that comes the end of this week.

Life is good in Minas. We got 3 more baptismal dates this last week, so we should have a couple of really solid baptisms this month. Hopefully we`ll keep you guys posted on that. Everything is going great. I really don`t have much to talk about. Sorry for the lack of info and pics this week. It`s been a really interesting week. So yeah.

Take care of yourselves.

Love always,


DJ


ps, Michael Jackson is STILL dead...in case you didn`t know.