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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

Friday, December 31, 2010

Week 50

December 28, 2010

Hey Family!

I`m very pleased to inform you that I am indeed training an awesome new elder, named Elder Dinkel from Nephi Utah. I am so excited for this change. I think he`ll be a truly obedient comp. He has a lot of energy and excitement for the work so I think we`ll get along great. My friend Jeremy Gardner from last fall is also training, as well as the Hermana Kleinman from my MTC district. Pretty sweet stuff.

Anyways, I included a picture of me with Elder Matamoros as well as a picture with my new comp. I hope they go through. I`m sure they will. Also I forwarded another picture to you guys from the huge Christmas conference we had.

So it was really good to talk to you guys on Saturday even though it didn`t really seem like something out of the ordinary...nor did it feel like Christmas. But you all sound like you are doing great, which makes me happy. And I`m glad you`ve had a good time up in Provo. It is nice to spend time with the family. Oh and also tell Bernie and Nana thank you. I`ll try to get a letter out this next week as I didn`t have time today at all.

So anyways, I also do not have much to report as I just talked to you several days ago...oddly enough. I`m really excited to see what my comp and I can do in this area. I figure that all we have to do is work hard and be obedient and the Lord will do the rest. The investigators and the baptisms will come.

Um, not much else...I hope you guys travel home safely today (or that you already arrived safely) and have a great week. Oh, and Happy New Year to everybody. It`ll be a super entrance into wonderful 2011. Keep on keeping on. The Church is true. Always has been and always will be. I often think of the understanding and comfort it brings to me. I wonder what we did to have the privilege of having the gospel in our lives.

Oh one last thing, my old comp Matamoros is going to be comps with his MTC comp, they were ALSO comps for 2 changes in the mission about a year ago. So this will be the third time with this comp.

So yeah, hope all is well. Enjoy the new year. I`ll be in 2011 5 hours before you guys so Pbbbbbbtttt. :P

Love Always,

DJ

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Week 49

BUBBLES!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Good news...I have pictures and mail! WOO HOO! I got some mail at district meeting last week and then some more at the mission conference we had last Friday. Details coming soon. So I got letters 45 and 46 as well as 2 little packages that supposedly have CDs in them. Also a littler box, and a box that says shirts, and I also got a box as well from Bernie and Tom who are awesome. I have not opened them yet as I suppose they are for Christmas so I`ll open them on Saturday, but this is to let you know that I have them. Thanks in advance...I`ll be able to thank you guys more specifically next week. :D

Ok, so with regards to the mission conference, it was super great. I really enjoyed being able to see all of the missionaries and it was pretty special because there were some good testimonies and musical numbers and stuff and President was able to clear up a tiny bit some of the confusion in the mission. But it was really nice...although it still doesn`t feel like Christmas. It`s really hard to feel a lot of the Christmas spirit when your face is melting off day after day. :)

As far as the investigators go...they`re doing well. We had 2 of our investigators in church yesterday which was cool. It was a nice day though so I wish more of them had come. Oh well. it`s a struggle sometimes. I`m really super stoked for changes… because I have a bunch of ideas that i want to put into practice...things that will allow us to be more obedient and do things in the Lord`s way and not our own way. I guess there are close to 20 North Americans getting ready to come out this change (that`s what I heard anyway) so I`m thinking that if I`m meant to change, it`ll probably (hopefully) be this change. :) We`ll see what the Lord has planned out for me.


Quick pic update. The first two are random pics of me. :) the next one is one of the conference we had, taken during lunch. then a pic with me and Elder Sosa, my last comp. And then a pic of me with a good friend who finishes his mission in a week and another elder who snuck into the background and was with me in the MTC. Elder Wilde is in front and Elder Simpson is the one who snuck in back and then I also included a picture of my stack of awesomeness, aka boxes. :)

Ok, so I just attached another pic of the conference. good stuff....

Um, so let`s see what else...I dunno. The mission is treating me well. I`m trying to work my hardest and always improve which is really all the Lord expects. He doesn`t expect immediate perfection...He just wants constant effort and improvement. I look back at where I was about a year ago and it`s so much different. Even I can see the differences and the changes and like you know, it`s not easy for a person to see changes in himself, so that means these changes must be substantial. I`ve mostly noticed it in my testimony and whatnot. The experiences of the mission give me the opportunity to see families and individuals in a variety of settings, which allows me to learn things and think about what I would do in such a situation. Basically, I`m acquiring a ton of lessons that are going to help me stay firm and active after the mission as well as raise a family in the gospel. It`s freaking sweet. And the best part is that the Lord teaches me all of this without my trying. I just work hard trying to teach people the gospel and the Lord does His thing to change me into who I need to be for the future. Good stuff, that is.

Well, I hope you guys and everybody else I know have a great Christmas. I`ll look forward to talking with you guys on Saturday. Say hi and Merry Christmas to those I know...and even to those I don`t . :P Hope Christmas vacations are good and hopefully you`ll get some snow. Thanks for everything. Have a great week. :D

Love always,

DJ

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Week 48

50th email.

Monday, December 13, 2010 12:19 PM
Woo Hoo!

This is definitely my 50th email because, funnily enough, it`s definitely my 50th pday.

Hi family,

Well here we are in December and it is hot...although we had a storm come through Saturday night and stay until yesterday so it`s fairly cooler here today. I`m not complaining. Speaking of said storm, it absolutely stinks that it rains on Sundays because we have a hard enough time getting people to church. Ugh. Consequently, we had no investigators, no recent converts, and no less active families in church yesterday. Heck half of the members weren`t even there. The unfortunate part was that it was Ward Conference so it was really good. We had 31 people in church...and at least 10 were from the Stake. :( So anyways, that`s the update on investigators and the church scene. Our investigators are doing fine, but like I said, the lack of marriage makes it hard for them to progress fast. To answer mom`s question...it appears that the biggest reason that people just get together without marrying is because there are no cons to it. And to boot, Uruguay recently put in a law that says that people living together for 5 or more years have the same privileges as married couples. So that combined with the fact that people don`t like to enter into commitments, it makes just getting together and having families so much easier.

I`m doing alright with my comp, but I am really looking forward to having a comp with less time in the mission. Even though I`m technically senior comp right now. What I really want is to train or get somebody in maybe their 3rd or 4th change and then just teach them with obedience. That would be my little perfect world. I was actually thinking about it the other day and I made a list of things that I would like to change if I got the opportunity...and it actually made me really excited for this upcoming change...and the second year of my mission in general. I feel like the first year has been learning and adapting and now the second year is application. And then, if baptisms and whatnot come, then so be it...but at least I`ll be doing my part. We`ll see what happens.

Mail...I got letters 41 and 43 and Patrick`s card and 2 letters from Grandma. So that`s good. In response to Mom`s letter...I was actually thinking the other day about the privileges we have as Americans. There are neighborhoods here (and I use the term loosely) that are basically the Uruguay version of basically just poor, drug-filled, theft-ridden areas. and I was thinking about how those people probably don`t even dream of seeing an airplane up close, let alone flying to another country (to preach or to study or to visit or whatever). We truly are blessed.

Um, congrats to Sis Nye and Ashleigh. That`s kind of crazy to think about. I still feel like a teenager (in some ways) so that`s why.

Ok what else...well this week was very interesting and I had some new experiences that really tested me and made me grow. I guess we can be thankful that I`m still here and working. :) We have a whole mission Christmas conference this Friday. That`ll be pretty sweet and then Saturday we have a Stake baptism and we`ll get to watch the Christmas devotional afterwards.

That`s cool that you guys will get to go to Provo, but too bad Aunt Margaret can`t go because she is awesomesauce. Well anyways, that`s pretty much all I have for today. Hope everything is going well for you guys during this Christmas season and I hope you get some snow. Oh and FYI, the people here are just as closed and uninterested as ever. I don`t think the Christmas spirit really exists here. :/ Have a great week. I`ll be back next week for the last pday of the change!! WOOOOOOO!!!!!

Love always,

DJ

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Week 47

bubbles

Monday, December 6, 2010 2:17 PM
Hey family,

First of all, I want to apologize for the general lack of pictures this week...mostly because (as I have explained before) I am possibly in the most boring zone in the mission. Oh well, what can you do. However as far as seeing other missionaries on pday, we usually play soccer in the stake center so we see a handful there. We didn`t play today, however, as our phone line was cut and we couldn`t coordinate anything. Oops.

Anyways, life is good. Well I`m doing well for the most part. I enjoyed your emails. also, I`ll be sending that birthday note along in a letter here soon...just wanted you to see it on your birthday. Just FYI, and yeah the shoes are something wonderful aren`t they. I`d be willing to bet that the old pair of shoes has 1500+ miles of wear and tear...yeah you can probably bet that any shoe no matter the model or make will wear down after that. :D

Ok, so we were stung with a little bit of bad news today. We had a lesson with our golden family (they have now come to church 3 times and they came to the Ward`s baptism on Saturday). We were under the impression (evidently incorrectly) that they were married. Uberfail. So they totally can`t get baptized this month either. I think we are now teaching either one or both members of 7 or 8 different couples that cannot get baptized until they get married...and at least one is waiting for a divorce (which takes even longer). It drives me absolutely crazy. It`s a huge struggle we have here.

And yes, Dad is completely right. I have no concept of it being less than 3 weeks until Christmas. There are decorations and stuff...not a lot but they exist...but it doesn`t matter, because it`s really hard to imagine Christmas when 1) I`m focusing on the missionary work and 2) I`m leaking liquid from every pore in my body (aka...sweating). So yeah. hopefully next week I`ll be able to give you some concrete details about the phone call. I`m fairly certain that we have a 5 hour difference right now so we`ll work with that. Details to come.

Also no mail this week because we`ll get it tomorrow at district meeting and I`ll inform you in a week. This zone appears to be pit city for mail...I dunno, if it`s like that in other places.

Congrats to Patrick as student of the month. Hey when is the last day of the semester. Just curious.

So moral of the story for this area is that we have investigators, but it`s really hard to set dates for baptism and stuff because they aren`t married. As you can tell, this annoys me. Rawr.

Well, I`m going to finish off this email for today. It`s been good talking with you. Next time don`t be so quiet when I`m conversing with you. :P I`ll be here next week. Word and um, have a great week. Life is good and don`t you forget it. Hope you guys have a White Christmas...because I sure won`t. :D hopefully I`ll have good news next week with regards to having received mail...we can hope for a miracle right? Ok, take care. Say hi to everybody or you can say puppies if you feel so inclined. The people might be slightly more confused, but whatever. Whofwhofwhofwhofwhofwhofwhof.

Love always,

DJ

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Week 46

Failsauce

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 12:48 PM
Hey family,

Well as you have noticed, I definitely did not get pday on Monday this week. There was some conference for all the leaders yesterday and so our pday got moved to today. It really is unfortunate because it messes up my routine and our week. Not to mention that our zone leaders moved our district meeting this morning to be a half an hour later than usual so we spent almost the first hour of our pday doing district meeting related activities.

Happy birthday Mom!! Woooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So anyways we had to work yesterday and it was unfortunate because my body thought it should be pday the entire day and it was really really difficult to get any kind of motivation. Now today it do├Ęsn`t feel like pday at all. Basically this all means that this week will probably feel like an eternity because it always does when we have pdays on Tuesday. Ugh.

Anyways, how are all you guys. Hope Thanksgiving was awesomely sick in the best way possible. For me it was just another day in the mission although I did realize that it was Thanksgiving on Thursday. Hopefully Tom was nice and cooperative and cooked himself nicely. That`s also cool that you were able to visit with all the family. Good stuff. Oh, also good news that the box arrived...you`ll have noticed Travis` letter. so yes I did get letter 40 it seems, but I received no comic. and today I received no mail other than another postcard from Chicago from dad. I don`t know why mail is so fail in this zone. Your guess is as good as mine.

I wore my new awesome shoes for the first time today. Wow they are awesome. I took some comparison pictures for you guys. I was thinking about those shoes I have...it`s likely that they have seen at least 2000 kilometers of walking, possibly more. I`m going to try to make it through to the end without you guys having to send another pair but I honestly don`t know if that`ll be possible. Don`t buy any more shoes now obviously, just be understanding if sometime next summer (for you guys) you get another email from your crazy Uruguayan missionary. :)

Ok, so references (referrals) here are very scarce. and the majority of the references that we do get come from other missionaries who happened to contact somebody who lives in a different area. We do get them every once in a while from the members which is good, but we have to do a lot of door contacting and stuff. The Church really just lacks development down here...that`s a big problem. I sometimes wonder how missions are in the states where they have developed wards and people with generations in the church and stuff. That is a big difference between here and the States.

But our investigators continue to progress....we had 4 in church again on Sunday and our baptism got confirmed. I figure that as long as they are gaining a testimony and fulfilling the commitments we leave (things like go to church ,read , pray, etc.) we`re doing our job. We`re trying to put baptismal dates with people, but they seem a little bit reluctant. We`ll see what happens.

So life in the mission is good...although sometimes I get frustrated. I`m just trying to be more patient and understanding.

It seriously does not feel like Christmas time at all...for obvious reasons, i.e. mission, hot, etc. The kids have a weird tradition here. Fireworks are huge here during this time of the year so all the kids stand outside the local stores asking for money for Judas...they have like a doll thing that is supposed to represent Judas or something, I dunno, but they use the money to buy fireworks. It gets kind of annoying when all the way down the street people are asking you for money for Judas. It`s just a tradition they have here. :D

Well that’s all I got for now. Hopefully I`ll be back next Monday. Happy December. Have a good week.

Love always,

DJ