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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, December 19, 2011

Week 101 - Coming Home

Um...
Monday, December 19, 2011 5:16 AM

Um...if my last email was sent last week, what does that make this email.

Anyways, here`s just a little email to confirm that I am indeed coming home. :) It`s SOOPER WEIRD. I don`t know how to describe it. I think it`s something you have to live...maybe dad can understand a little bit. My comp will be training. I guess somebody is coming from the MTC early. So that`ll be cool for him. To answer dad, we didn`t have a baptism yesterday. It`s okay though because we had 5 investigators in church. Hopefully my comp will be able to have a couple in the next few weeks. It`s hard to believe that Christmas is in less than a week. Wow. The Christmas conference was really good. I got to see everybody and say goodbye. It`s weird to think that some I`ll never see again in person in this lifetime. The valients (last changers) always get to bear their testimonies in some kind of conference (usually zone) but for us we got to do it in front of the whole mission. I`m going to miss talking in spanish. The week was really good. We accomplished a lot. I felt absolutely normal until I got home last night. It was the answer to a lot of prayers because I really prayed that I could stay focused through the end. So as long as I had work time left, I felt normal even though I was talking about my departure with everybody. As soon as I was done working (as of last night), I started feeling super weird. So we know God answers prayers. My life is upside down right now. In 4 hours I`ll get on a bus to go to Montevideo (solo), where I`ll take a taxi to the mission home. After my interview, the secretaries will take me to the airport and then I`ll (hopefully) follow the itinerary. Just fyi/warning...I might look ruffled and smell bad when I get home because it`ll be almost 48 hours without shower or brushing teeth or anything. My apologies in advance. Hopefully this finds you well. I`m sure you are all excited and overjoyed. I`m not sure how I feel right now, so I`ll let you know later.

Love Always,

DJ

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Week 100

What an absolute joke...this is my last email.
Monday, December 12, 2011 6:26 AM

Dear family,

Well I was going to send pictures for the last time, but it appears as if the computer is on strike. Sad day. Well, I guess you`ll only have to wait another week to see them. :)

So, this week was good, kind of strange, but good. We cannot apparently for the life of us get investigators to progress in any shape or form towards baptisms. Ok, that`s a lie. We have a tiny number that are progressing VERY SLOWLY. Bernard moves fast in comparison. Speaking of Bernard really quick, he`ll sadly be staying here as the house mascot because I can`t take him home. Hope everybody is okay with that. Anyways, the strange/cool experience for the week was on Saturday. We were walking towards an appointment and as we walk by this lady, we hear "excuse me." At first I was like, okay who`s the random Guayan speaking English to us. We turn around and actually met a lady from Washington. We start talking to her and turns out that she and her husband are Baptist missionaries. They sold their house and everything in the states and moved down here to do I don`t even know what for the Baptist church. Well, we started talking. She asked us what our purpose is....bad question. When everything was said and done half an hour later, we had basically taught her the restoration, the plan of salvation, and the 5 points of the gospel of Jesus Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end). Then we had to go to our appointment (to which we showed up a tiny bit late), but we got her number and we`re going to try to meet up with her again. Well the Lord works in mysterious ways...if this couple had to sell everything they had to move to Uruguay to receive the restored gospel, so be it. We`ll see what happens. It was kind of strange (well let`s speak seriously....really strange) because it was the first time I taught in English. It wasn`t too bad though...the Lord helped and only a few Spanish words crept in. She speaks very limited Spanish so yeah.

Let`s see...apart from that, the week was just routine. We`re having a terribly rough time finding new investigators. Poo. But oh yeah, yesterday we went by a reference the Zone Leaders had passed to us and we found a kid whose cousin just got baptized in their branch. He wants to get baptized as soon as somebody gives him a date and a time. So that`s pretty cool as well. The baptism we were planning on having this week doesn`t appear to be too committed. We`re not giving up, but my big focus now is to just not leave a destitute area for Elder Craynor. It`s super strange thinking that my next Pday will not involve me typing an email to you, it`ll involve me talking with you face to face. It`s super weird. I started working on my suitcases yesterday. Not too bad. I mostly did it because I have more time on Sundays and that way I`ll be able to focus the whole week on missionary work. You`ll probably be surprised when I tell you that I`m not terribly distracted. It mostly has to do with reality not having hit me yet, and powerful prayers.

Personally I`m doing well. I just finished up President Kimball’s Teachings of the Prophets book. He`s awesome. Curiously, those books have really strengthened my testimony even more. I`ve come a lot closer to my Heavenly Father in these last few weeks and months. I know we go through every situation for a reason, and evidently this was something I needed to learn. I`m just trying to stay focused and do my best because I don`t want to look back with any regrets (even though Satan tries to tempt me to think I`ve failed or not done my best or stupid stuff like that).

I got letter 98 this week. I don`t know how many more I`m supposed to be expecting. So yeah. I think I also got a letter from Chris (assuming he wrote one). It kinda looks like his handwriting, but I haven`t opened it yet.

Yes the Christmas conference is on Wednesday. I`m stoked. This week is going to fly by. I`ll also be saying good bye to different families this week. It`s all very strange. People keep asking me how it feels and what I think, but I don`t ever know what to say. In some ways, it feels like I just said goodbye to you. I`ve changed a lot and at the same time, I`m the same. Yeah, ok. Weird stuff.

I have nothing else to tell you. I might check my email next Monday (I`m not sure about my whole schedule yet), so if you have any last minute things to say, feel free to send an email. I`ll try to get it. Tell Nana hi...and tell her to take care of herself. She`s almost made it. :) Have a wonderful last week without me.

Love Always,

DJ

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Week 99

Penultimate email.
Monday, December 5, 2011 5:56 AM

Dear Family,

As you can gather from my subject line, this is the next to last time I`ll be writing. Wow. Because obviously I won`t be writing on the 19th (or at least I think that is fairly obvious). I have some real struggles sometimes because I try to convert Spanish words into English words and I am generally convinced that what I`m saying is correct when in reality, I don`t know what the freak I`m saying (and neither does anybody else). So yeah.

This past week was good. We had changes, but as I didn`t go anywhere, I just stayed here and worked with another elder. This is now his 2nd change. He`s being trained here in my zone by Elder Young (from my group). Anyways during the day as we were walking, he mentions "as of today I`m no longer an oro (greenie)" and I look at him, smile and say "yeah, well as of today I`m a valient (last change)" It was funny. :D I don`t recall if I mentioned that there are two oros in my district. District meeting should be fun this week. Haha. But as I was saying, this week we found some more people to teach (some really good ones) and we worked our butts off doing everything we could to get people to go to church (I`m really into the parenthetical today) and the result was that NOBODY went to church. Fail. But at least we know that we did everything we could, phone calls, members, commitments, etc. Our super focus is to have at least one baptism before I leave. As a result, all of my efforts are focused to the 17th...it`s as if life after the 17th doesn`t exist. It`s better that way. It keeps me focused.

We also found out last week to my enjoyment that our Christmas conference is on the 14th so I`ll still be here. I`m super excited because I`ll get to say goodbye to everybody. That`s good since I wasn`t able to go to changes. Ooh, so I am pretty sure that I`m flying out solo the whole way. I think. I know that I`m the only one leaving from my mission at that time even though Elder Young is going to BYU this winter as well. He decided to go home on time and enter school 8 days late. This was his decision. He knew I was debating back and forth too and when I told him I was going home early, he was kind of disappointed. I personally think that he didn`t want to be the only crazy one entering BYU 8 days late. Oh well. He made his choice, and I mine. Elder Powell is going to BYU-I and will start in April or something.

I was not able to see the broadcast last night because it was broadcast at 11:00pm here. Oh well. I would have liked to have seen it. Tomorrow I complete 23 months in the mission. Strange no? My comp and I are working well together. He`s been getting his first taste of being district leader. He now knows how it just takes up your time at night. :) I`m enjoying having nothing to do. I think I read like 20 chapters in the Book of Mormon yesterday. Word.

Oh yeah I got letters 91,96,97 this week, but I haven`t opened them yet to see what`s inside as additional stuff. I think you mentioned that one had a phone card. So that`s good.

Enjoy this one picture. I took it because there was some Guayan championship game yesterday and Nacional won (that`s their jersey-ish). so I celebrated briefly. :)

That`s awesome that Hayden put his papers in. His call should get there shortly after I get home. Good stuff. It`s weird to think that this is my last week to send out letters because after this week, anything I want to send home will get there faster if I pack it with me.

Well besides my doctors appointments and the general hanging out with Nana and everybody, is there anything you want to do when I get home? Most missionaries go home with ideas in mind for right when they get there. I don`t really care. Hopefully you can arrange it for me to get released on Tuesday night after the plane lands. If you can. Other than just readjusting and spending time with you guys, the only real urge I have is to play some ball. I`m itching to play again. You have no idea. I will also be taking time to organize my life and get everything I need for college. I also have to figure out my finances and everything. Ooh let`s go bowling too. :) Since last week is my last email (pretty sure), give me anything you have in mind in your emails. I`m really out of the loop. I have no idea what`s going on.

That`s cool that Dad`s going to speak with me on January 1st.

Yesterday was my last fast and testimony meeting in the mission. I had this huge internal debate about whether to get up (because I prefer to leave time to the members), but I ended getting up at the end. It was good. I think I would have regretted it later if I hadn`t gotten up. It`s not like I lack opportunities to bear testimony, but it`s good for the members and me anyways.

Well have a wonderful week. Give nana a preliminary hug for me. Have a good drive.

Love always,

DJ

PS: On a scale from 0 to banana, it doesn`t not feel like December AT ALL. :D

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Week 98

Monday, November 28, 2011 5:49 AM

Dear family,

Well this week was a much better week. We`re actually finding people to teach now. Well, given that most of our investigator pool has been completely revamped, we didn`t have too many people in church yesterday, but that`s not getting us down. Basically, when I prayed that the Lord would help me be more humble, I made a mistake because soon after that all of our investigators committed spiritual suicide and I had to learn humility the hard way. :D Nah, but it`s been a good experience. I`ve learned to rely on the Lord even more. My comp and I are staying together, but he`ll be district leader (since I`m leaving midway). He`s actually really surprised, but he`ll do well. Then the other two companionships in my district will be two trainers with their oros (greenies). I`m not going to lie, I`ll probably mess with them (i.e. I`ve got less time left in the mission than you have out in the mission). Hee hee hee.

Remember I told you about the crazy dude in our area who says he was a mini-missionary and he told us his version of the first vision, well the other night he just walks right into our house unannounced. We were like who is in our house. He`s out of his mind. He just walked right in, what a joke.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MOM! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!

The reality of what is happening really hasn`t hit me yet, but it was kind of strange during our weekly planning session last Thursday when I realized that I`m basically planning for my last baptisms (since they are usually 3 to 4 week cycles). That`s super cool that Alonzo was able to go to sacrament meeting yesterday. I`m glad that the ward is doing missionary stuff. You never really know the true effect of the Spirit on a person. At least you guys did your part and extended the invitation. Yay! :D It`s also good to know that Cy is alive. I sure wouldn`t know. Anyways, good job on your talk mom. You convert you. :)

Oh hey, they didn`t give out mail this last week because of changes, I`ll get it tomorrow. The pics I have here are ones we took as a district last Tuesday. Enjoy.

I`m in the Heber J. Grant book right now. I`m loving those books. They`re not mine, but we randomly have them in the house. Anyways they`re really good. It should be helpful to bear a more powerful testimony to investigators and who knows whoelse. <--------- I don`t know if this makes sense in English. Oh well.

Ramon is doing well. He comes to church every week and he´s even working on getting his daughter and (soon-to-be) husband to go with him. He`s a stud.

Well October and November have seemingly disappeared. It`s really quite strange actually. I`m not quite sure what happened.

Well, have a wonderful week. Welcome to December. I love you all like a missionary loves his pillow. Have a wonderful week.

Love always,

DJ

PS. It`s hot here. At least I don`t have to deal with much more of it. It`s rough.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Week 97

Monday, November 21, 2011 6:16 AM

Dear family,

Well, as you may have already discovered...I`m writing an email! Woo hoo! And I`ve also included pictures. That`s another woo! You`ll see from the pictures that we have been blessed with washing machines!!! YAY! We were so stoked when we found out. You probably have no idea. So enjoy the picture of me with the washer.

Mmk, this week was...interesting. We had district conference (because we`re a district not a stake) yesterday. It was really good. Our guest was Elder Chappe who is an area seventy from Uruguay. It was nice. The meeting was really spiritual. Sadly, we really didn`t have any investigators in church because all of our investigators (or the vast majority) have suddenly decided to disappear. Elder Craynor and I are trying to figure out how to fix it. The most solid investigator we have is named Jonathon. He`s super good. Last week we taught him fasting and then invited him to do a fast so that he can get a steady job. We even offered to fast with him, which we did and it almost killed us. Fasting in the dead heat, walking around and not drinking water is not an easy task. As long as it works and he gets a job, it`s worth it.

Say happy birthday to Grams for me and happy Thanksgiving as well to everybody. I actually had my Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. We were coming off a fast, but even putting that aside, the food was super good and I just kept eating. It`s been a long time since I`ve felt that full. It wasn`t good. I have to take care of my figure...I do have to get married some day. :)

Oh yeah, I was going to tell you about the temple, because we got to go the temple last Thursday and then we had a zone conference after. Anyways, we had to get up with the chickens to be able to get to Montevideo, but the experience was good. I enjoyed it a lot more this time than the last time I went (last November). And then we were able to go to the distribution center and I bought the conference issue of the Ensign. So now I`m reading a bunch. It`s fun. I`ve actually got a lot of things I have to read before the end. It`s crazy. I won`t have excess time like this after the mission to just study and study and study the gospel. Good stuff. I`m reading the Teachings of the prophets too. I`ve read Joseph Smith through Wilford Woodruff and now I`m finishing up Joseph F. Smith. So I have to finish the rest of those too before I leave. I think I just accidentally changed the font some how. Don`t ask.

This week I got letter 95 as well as some letters or drawings or something from what looks to be the primary in the ward. I just flipped through them really quickly before leaving the house. They appear to be birthday wishes from the primary kids. It was sent from 781 24 1/2 road and I have no idea who that is exactly. But it`s cool. Good stuff.

So we`re progressing here. My comp and I are wondering what we did to incur this issue we have with investigators, but more than anything I feel the Lord is just testing us. We`re working through it, and I really feel like something good is going to happen soon. That`s cool that Chris gets the whole week off. Cool beans.

As far as changes, threesomes don`t exist down here. That`s why we have those mini-missionary people like I had. The most likely for changes next week is that I stay here with my comp and when I leave he gets one of those minipeople for 3 weeks. So the mission here is allowing the missionaries here to talk via Skype for Christmas this year. Thankfully I won`t have to deal with that; we can talk in person.

Glad the choir thingy went well. Did Maureen actually go? If so, word up. If not, word down. :)

I`ve decided that there are some things that I`m really going to miss about the mission, but there are other things that I won`t miss so much. It`s been a really good experience thus far. More than anything I think it`s changed my perspective and focus. So far, I have no regrets so can`t complain there.

Bananas. Well, I don`t have much more to report. The work is continuing. We`ve talked to some really interesting people lately. It`s strange. But yep. I got used to it a long time ago. Hope you enjoy the pictures. They were taken with love. Have a wonderful turkey day (one of the sisters in my district was trying to convince me that Thanksgiving was last week....fail). Don`t eat too much. :D

Love Always,

DJ

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Week 96

I`m running out of witty subject lines
Monday, November 14, 2011 6:03 AM
Dear family,

Well, here I am after going through another rough week. Sadly, it seems that all areas just have their ups and downs. We don`t think we`ve done anything special; it just seems that our investigators want to crater themselves. I think we lost like 7 investigators this week or something like that. It is just a huge load of opposition. Oh well. We`re working through it. The good news is that we do have investigators still and that our area has a lot of potential. We`re just trying to figure out how to tap into it. We did have some good lessons this last week and we did find 2 new people that look pretty solid.

It was interesting that you had your lesson on the Millennium because that`s what ours was too. Ramon came to church again with his nice shirt and tie and everything. But sadly, we once again had no investigators in church. Like I said, opposition. It`s been kind of rough, but we`re not getting down on ourselves.

This week for mail, I received a letter from Aunt Margaret, one from Michael (I had written him a few weeks back), a few from grandma (but the birthday card she sent hasn`t arrived yet), as well as letters 93 and 94. Like I said a while back, you`ll probably want to get the word out to not send anything else after November. I probably wouldn`t get it.

The weeks go by incredibly fast here, and I only have 5 left. It`s a super strange feeling. It used to be that I counted months. For example, I`d know that I had 9 months left. And then a whole month would have to pass before I could decrease that number (and a month is a decent length of time). Now weeks go a whole lot super faster (if that even makes sense), so the numbers are decreasing much more rapidly. Wow. We go to the temple on Thursday, so this`ll be the last time I go until I get home.

I was thinking a little yesterday about how the whole transition is going to be. I`m sure you`ve probably already figured, but I`m going to be leaving a grand majority of my clothes and stuff here (for other missionaries or whoever). I`ve gotten through the entire mission with just using the one suit coat and one of the pairs of suit pants. So I`m planning on throwing out the pair I`ve used and then I`m going to get the suit coat dry cleaned here. I`m then planning on giving the coat and the other pair of pants to a member from my 3rd area in Prosperidad because he`s tall and skinny like me and I think he would appreciate it. My shoes are obviously trashed (but I`ll bring one pair home as souvenirs). My shirts and pants that are still in good condition (and most are), I`ll give to other missionaries or Hermana da Silva so she can distribute them.

Also, I was thinking about how I`m pretty much the same person and how I`ve changed dramatically at the same time. I`ve decided that my personality is pretty much the same, but my focus and priorities are a whole lot different. Be warned that I`m going to be super strange when I get home. You probably have no idea. And yes, I have a rather interesting time speaking intelligible English. You`ll get used to it. :D I`m glad Nana will be able to come. That sounds pretty exciting. I try not to think about after mission details too much because I`ll get unfocused. (I`m not saying that you are unfocusing me). I`m just saying that vague details are about as good as it gets in my brain. It`s really interesting pushing yourself to work hard even though the end is right around the corner. What I mean by that is that sometimes it`s more attractive to just give myself slack and coast through the last part, but that`s not how it`s done. Nopers.

Did you guys have anything in mind for things you want to do when I get back? I don`t even know if you had thought about it at all. Unfortunately, I`ll have to go the dentist and the doctor and the eye place and the calf place and the lung place and the toe place and the who knows where else place. Oh well. They are things that have to be done.

Anyhoo, I`ve got nothing else to say for now. I hope you all have a wonderful week. We`ve got 2 weeks left in this change...it`s gone by fast. Say hi to everybody for me. I`m glad Hudson`s excited to go. It`s the best. :) Monkeys.

Love Always,

DJ

Oots, one more thing or two...

Are the letters that I`ve sent home saved somewhere (in addition to the ones that you have sent me)?

And sorry about the lack of pictures.

deej

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Week 95

This is an email...warning...this is an email

Monday, November 7, 2011 6:13 AM

Dear family,

It`s the 7th of November. You know what this means? This week is 11-11-11!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please celebrate accordingly. Well this past week was....rough. If you look at our actual numbers (of lessons and whatnot), they are better than last week, but they don`t show that we had a bunch of investigators exercise their agency this week (in a kind of failish way). Also, for the first time since May, I had no investigators in church. That was also sad because we were expecting about 5 or 6 for sure. The plus side is that Ramon did get confirmed. The minus side is that there was a problem with the microphone. Thus I could only hear about 50% of what was being said, and Ramon who is hard of hearing heard basically nothing. :( So needless to say, my comp and I were joyous to be done with last week. The Lord is basically just trying our patience. He wants to see if we have faith to keep working hard. Among the very few positive things that happened last week, we had a lesson with a new guy we found. I was explaining the Joseph Smith story and whatnot and for the first time in my whole mission, the investigator said (before I told him) ¨Oh, so they chose him to put the church back on the earth.¨ Most investigators don`t even really understand that after you tell them, but this guy seemed to intuitively know before we even told him. So that was cool. He also, out of nowhere, said ¨I want to commit to go to church next Sunday (the 13th)¨ That doesn`t happen too much either.

Other than all that, we`re just trying to work hard and stay focused. Our area has a lot of potential and we are still excited, but like I said, we hit kind of a rough patch. We`ll work through it. As long as we`re doing our best, the Lord is in charge of the rest. Yep, that`s a rhyme. Giggles.

No mail this week. Don`t ask why. Hey, I am curious to know if Patrick and I are taking a civilization class together, and which civ class it is. If we`re not, you should tell him to take it and then beat him like a duck.

It`s getting warmer here...we`ve had some of those hot, suffocating days already. I`m so thrilled. Although, on the plus side, this house shouldn`t be as oven-like as my house last year. woo.

I don`t know if I get a Christmas list or not, but if I do, I have thought of 2 things. I want a new set of Spanish scriptures, the triple and the bible. And I want the good kind, but I don`t need indexes. Just the nice black cover triple and bible with the gold leafed pages or whatever. And I don`t need my name on them either. I just want them to study when I get home.

Anyways, have a wonderful 11-11-11. Yay! it`ll only happen once this century. I love you all. When does Nana get there? PS. I`m glad they accepted your plan, Dad. Good stuff. Have a wonderful week. I`ll be home before you know it.

Love Always,

DJ


Uh, one more thing...are all the emails you guys have sent to me saved in your account. and are the emails I`ve sent saved in the account. If so, let me know. If not, I`ll need to forward them somewhere from this account so that I can have them for memory sake. kthxbye.

Oops, another thing. Sorry. Mom, I don`t even think the people down here know about that book, let alone have it. I could be wrong though.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Week 94

Googles

Monday, October 31, 2011 7:51 AM

Dear family,

Well to start off, Ramon`s baptism was really good. There were some complications, but the ZLs (zone leaders) were really good with us. We ended up having to go to his house on Saturday morning and do the interview there. But it was nice, and he liked it. He said he felt content and that it was a pleasing experience and that it went by too fast. It`s really fun talking to him because he shares stories...he kind of reminds me of a grandfather in that sense. He used to go out alone to the forests and stuff and hunt carpinchos (look it up) when he was 11. Crazy huh. Sadly, yesterday, he did not get confirmed because he had no decent pants to wear to church. He felt bad about that so when he gets paid this week he`s going to go buy a pair. He`ll get confirmed next week. I swear baptisms are the most stressful thing in the world, but they are worth it. The harder part (the water baptism) is done, so that`s good.

Next on the list of business. We were going to go the temple this Thursday and I was going to talk to President. I think I mentioned this in the last email. Anyhoo, our temple trip got pushed back 2 weeks, so I decided that I would call President last night to see if he had found everything out. Turns out, he took the liberty of buying me another ticket for the 19th. I`ll be leaving here on the 19th and I`ll get there at night time on the 20th. I`ll forward you the itinerary. I am pleased that it is all worked out, although it was kind of shocking when he told me that he was looking to send me home on the 19th. When you start the mission and have 105 weeks, cutting off 2 or 3 doesn`t seem too bad at all. It`s nothing, but when you have 2 months left, and you suddenly cut off a week, that`s like traumatizing, but I`ll get over it. So this means, that 7 weeks from today, I`ll be flying out. What a joke. That`s too quick. But I was thinking, why do I think it`s too quick? I`ve worked hard and so far, I have no regrets. I think I just really like being a missionary. I`m excited to get home and all of that jazz, but I`m super comfortable here. Oh well, the sad reality of life, time moves onward and things change.

When I talked to President last night, I asked him if there was anything he needed from me, and he said "anything and everything you can." This is like the final push of everything I`ve got. President Holland joked about how we should come home on a stretcher. In other news, I don`t know what day my homecoming talk will be. I`d be okay with it being on the 1st still. It doesn`t matter to me.

PS. Look at my layovers on my itinerary. What a joke. Oh well. Can`t complain, can I? Well I suppose I can, but I probably shouldn`t ;)

I got letter 92 this week. :) And also a letter from Grandma. I`m glad that the BYU scheduling thing went well. Thanks for doing that. That should be more or less everything I think until I get home, right? Or maybe there is stuff I don`t know about. I hope you enjoy the pictures. Life is going well. We`re seeing some really good stuff in our area. Hopefully we can pull it through and see some baptisms next month. Wow, November starts tomorrow. And then Wednesday is the Day of the Dead here....cool. :D The weather is getting warmer. I`ll deal with it. My small consolation is that I don`t have to deal with it too much. My comp is good. We`re getting along well and we`re seeing good results. It`s weird to think that I probably won`t have another comp........until my wife. Ooh trunky! :D:D:D

Anyways, have a wonderful week. Hope everybody is doing well. What day does Patrick get home from BYU for Christmas...and what day is Christopher done with school? Boogity.

Love Always,

DJ

PS: Did I tell you guys that we found a new investigator named Bernard?!? Cool!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Week 93

Hi

Monday, October 24, 2011 6:59 AM

Dear family,

Here I am. Thanks for your emails. This week was pretty good and we`re really seeing a lot of good things happening in our area. We`re pretty excited. We`ve got a fair number of lessons set up with potential new investigators (that rarely ever happens...usually they just say come back another day and we have to try our luck). Elder Craynor is a stud. He`s got 6 months in the mission and he`s from Ogden. We`re doing well together. I included a picture. I`m barely taller. Git sum. :D

Ramon will be getting baptized this Saturday so that`s pretty exciting. That other new family was planning on going to church, but didn`t make it yesterday for some reason. We`re going tomorrow so we`ll figure out what happened. They’re still up for baptism for the 12th of November. I`m enjoying being DL (district leader). It`s been a good experience. We found out that we`ll be going to the temple on the 3rd. So I figure that that day will be the very latest day that we`ll have to wait to decide on a sure date with President da Silva. I`m kind of assuming he`ll call me soon, but that may be not entirely accurate. As far as the endorsement thing...I don`t figure that I`ll apply for the MTC until this semester (and then start working over the summer or something, I don’t know, so I can get him to possibly do the endorsement afterwards. We`ll see. I can always talk to him about it.

I attached various pictures for your viewing pleasure. I do inform you that Christmas is 9 weeks from yesterday. It`s kind of weird knowing that I have so few weeks left because weeks pass by so quickly. It`s all very strange, but I`m just trying to remain focused.

I got mail this week, a couple letters from grandma and I think one from mom, but I don`t remember the number...does 90 make sense? So what does Nana want to do then...is she going to be there for Christmas? How long is she going to stay? How does that all work. Keep me posted on my living situation. :) Have a wonderful week. I love you all tons.

Love always,

DJ

PS: If neither Arabic nor Italian are available for my school schedule, we`ll have to figure something else out. I figure I might as well start right back in on languages when I get back. I don’t know. I need to think about it more. I plan on doing a life-evaluation as soon as I get home and off the mission so that I can figure out where I`m going with life.:)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Week 92

Brains
Monday, October 17, 2011 7:38 AM

Dear family,

I just realized that I brought my SD card with me today, but I had not put any new pictures on it. Fail. Actually, that may be a lie. Hold on. Nope it`s not a lie. No pictures this week. Ok. So first of all, this week was really good, in that we are super excited. Sadly, Elder Coon will be leaving. My new comp is named Elder Craner. He`s from Elder Coon`s group so he knows him. Said he`s from Utah. Anyhoo, this last week we saw some more miracles. (I`m still District Leader by the way). On Tuesday we had interviews. At the interviews the sister missionaries gave us a reference. We went by on Wednesday and found a mother living with 6 kids. The mother had gone to church a lot years ago but never got baptized. And somehow (this is the miracle) the 14 year old daughter got interested in the church and wanted to listen to the lessons. We`re confused, but we figure it must be divine intervention to get us into that house. Otherwise, how else would a girl just randomly decide she wants to listen to missionaries. We had passed by that house several times going to other places and I also told myself that someday I would knock it because people always waved from the window when we walked past. There were a couple times that the girl even tried to hail us down but we walk too fast. So I was too thick-skulled, so the Lord had to use another way. Anyways, we enlisted a family in our ward to help us. They have a 12 year old daughter. We went on Saturday and the mom and daughter accepted the baptismal challenge for the 12th of November and then the member family went by on Sunday and took the daughter and a brother to church. Woo! In sacrament meeting, I just got this feeling that the Lord has a special love for this family and a special purpose. My job is to be a worthy instrument in His hands.

Ramon`s family randomly showed up yesterday (and they come once every 4 months or so) so he didn`t make it to church. He`ll get baptized next week. But he`s doing well. It`s amazing. He just accepted tithing without any problem. It`s super awesome. The ward is good. We`re getting help, which is solid.

Um, yeah, life is good. We`re getting warmer and warmer days now. My only consolation is that I won`t be here for the brunt of it. :D Woo Hoo! What are Nana`s plans? Is she still planning on going to GJ for Christmas, I don’t know. Thanks for Patrick`s address. Um yeah. I love you guys lots. I appreciate all you do for me. Have a wonderful week.

Love Always,
DJ

Friday, October 14, 2011

Week 91

Hi

Monday, October 10, 2011 7:50 AM

Dear family,

I, sadly, do not have any pictures this week. Anyways, how are you guys? Thanks for the emails. I got a letter this week from mom...I think it`s 89. I haven`t opened it yet, but I know that it is more than just a letter. It had something in it. Anyhoo, I also finally got a letter from Kyle, so that`s cool.

This week was really good. Elder Coon and I had decided to put forth more focused goals and then really really work to get our goals. Some of them we reached and we were super close on others, so that just made us feel good. It`s nice to have accomplishments. We should be having a baptism next week (assuming I don`t leave this area). His name is Ramon (I can`t recall if I told you about him before). He lives kind of at the edge of town in a shack place. He more or less lives out in nature, I suppose. I don’t know. His wife has died, but she was a member. His friend that also lives with him on this property is actually a less active Melchizedek Priesthood holder. The whole thing has really been a miracle. Missionaries had talked with Ramon before but I guess it wasn`t his moment. Last week we invited him to live the word of wisdom and stop smoking and he hasn`t smoked since. He eats mints when he gets the urge (reminds me of Grandpapa and his raisins). They both went to church yesterday and the whole branch (it seemed like) was excited to see Pedro there (his friend). It`s amazing because with Pedro we didn`t really do anything. He just felt the Spirit I guess. We didn`t even know he was a member. A couple of weeks ago when we went for a visit, we gave Pedro a wave inviting him to join us. He shook his finger at us saying no, but a few minutes later he comes over with his chair and his hymn book. It was then that we found out he`s a member. Since then he started reading the Book of Mormon again (without us saying anything) and he self-committed himself to go to church and went. How cool is that. It`s pretty awesome.

Other than that, we`re working hard with the various investigators we have and trying really hard to find more. We`re also trying our best to work with the members here. For some unknown and assuredly obscure reason, the branch presidency is in love with the idea of splits. I don`t understand. They are relatively pointless if there aren`t scheduled lessons. Anyhoo, we`re working with it. My companion is a stud. We get change calls in 6 days which is crazy. When I think that I may have to get to know another comp, it boggles my mind because it honestly doesn`t feel like I`ve been with Coon very long. PS Bernard is a stud.

These last few days, we`ve strangely not had a lot of scheduled appointments so we`ve been walking like fools. It`s insane how much we`ve walked. It also hasn`t helped a ton that the weather has been crazy and it rains/pours on and off. Oh well.

My license is extended for a year, or 90 days after I get back into the country, whichever comes first. I`m glad you had fun at the football game. If Coon told me correctly, this week`s game is against Oregon State. If you watch it, keep an eye out for number 71 (I`m pretty sure) which is Elder Mau Nomani (or should be).

Well thanks for all that you do. I`m doing well. I love you tons. Next week we`ll know what is happening for changes. Woo!

Love Always,

DJ

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Week 90

Barnacle bill the sailor
Monday, October 3, 2011 6:40 AM

Dear family,

It`s good to hear from you. Thanks for writing weekly. I`m doing well here. Conference was really good. There was a huge theme of trusting in our loving Heavenly Father even in the midst of trials and difficulties. President Monson is awesome and he announced 6 new temples! 2 of which are in Africa. How cool. PS. Where is Star Valley, WY. President Holland`s talk was bombdiggity. I totally called it too...before conference even started I guessed that he would speak in Priesthood. There were many talks that I really enjoyed (obviously) but Elder Christofferson`s talk on repentance was really good too. Elder Hales doesn`t look like he`s doing too well, but at least he was able to speak this time. In April, he didn`t even talk. We had 2 investigators go (of the 8 or 9 that we were expecting), but they both loved it. They both went to the Sunday morning session. Actually for us everything is in the afternoon. We watch it live so on Saturday we had sessions from 1-3, 5-7, and priesthood from 9-11. Then we actually went forward an hour on Saturday night so Sunday we watched from 2-4 and 6-8. It went by super fast. I remember 18 months ago after my first conference here when Dad told me that we would have the next one before we knew it. And here we are and all 4 of mine are gone. What a joke.

I`m trying to send pictures, but I don`t know if they want to today. Thanks so much for the birthday gift. Good munchies. If the pics go through, you`ll notice that one of the pics is the bday gifts. I also have included pics of Bernard (the purple manta ray) who has grown loads in these last 3 weeks.

Random alert...in between sessions on Saturday, they were showing something on family history and they had a dude from Rochester on it. I never realized that people from Rochester had accents before, but this guy reminded me a lot of Adam Mancuso...and others. Also, I was thinking, I would recommend that as of December, you no longer send anything to me, and try to get the word out to others (i.e. family members and put it on facebook). Anything that people may want to send me for Christmas should be reserved and just given to me when I get home because I more than likely will not receive it here.:)

About our area, things are improving. We have investigators now. We are teaching various couples as well. We`re still working on getting them to church, but there is progress. It`s been a struggle (and still is), but we`re trying to do everything we can. There are some really good members here.

On Friday, my comp and I went to the store and bought little cake things and a liter of blueberry ice cream to celebrate. Woo Hoo!

Hope everything is going well with you guys. I got my ballot, a postcard and letters 86 and 88 this week. Thank you :) Say hi to everybody. Hope I`ve answered all the questions. I love you all tons.

Love always,

DJ

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Week 89

Brains and Happiness
Monday, September 26, 2011 7:47 AM

Dear family,

Here I am...the weeks go by seemingly very quickly. We realized yesterday that (as of yesterday) Christmas is in 13 weeks. Woo! Even better, general conference is this week. Studly. Sadly, we have a time change on Saturday night so we lose an extra hour of sleep. Poo. I`m including today, a better pic of me and my comp. Enjoy.

This past week was pretty decent. We are thankfully seeing progress in our area even though it may be only a little bit. We found a couple more new investigators this week, so slowly we`re building up a base of people to visit. The only trick now is getting them to accept commitments and progress. Sadly, the activity that we were going to have this week got postponed...after we had made and given out various invitations. Oots. This week I got letter 87 (the one that actually exists) as well as something that looks like a birthday card. I got Nana`s card as well and a package from Bernie. I`ll send her a letter but you could mention it to her if you talk to her just so she knows that I got it. :)

This week, we met a number of really old people most of which were very stubborn. I`m talking old like 80s and lower 90s. One guy`s dog tried to pee on me during the contact...he lifted up his leg and everything. What a joke. Yesterday we had 2 investigators in church, but nobody we were really expecting. Sigh...I guess we`ll just keep working with them. I`m settling more into my District Leader thing now. I got to do my first baptismal interview on Friday with a really intelligent 12 year old girl. So that was a neat experience. Um what else happened....well life is good overall. Thanks for the birthday wishes, but I in no way feeling like I`m turning 21. What a joke. Tomorrow we have some kind of training thing with President. Hey so I don`t know if I ever told you, but I got a little sticker sent from the DMV a couple weeks back that I stuck to my license to extend it. The end.

Hi welcome to a new story (since the last one finished). I just want you to know that I am still pondering the classes thing. I`ll get back to you in a couple of weeks. I know that classes aren`t chosen until the end of October. Speaking of October...it starts THIS SATURDAY. WOWOWOWOWOW.

I was thinking this morning about how much my testimony has grown during these last couple of months. I think that my biggest growth has come in the last 4 or so months...starting when I got my corto plazo (the kid from Uruguay waiting for a mission call). It was a super difficult change, but looking back it was really good for me. Elder Coon and I have been reading through old conference issues like maniacs. They are awesome. Conference will be the bomb. It`s my last one. I remember Dad saying after my first one how the next one would come before I knew it...that was almost 18 months ago. Sauce.

I`m glad Michael is doing well, but that`s strange about his ward. Oh well. You just gotta work with what you got. Yep, that`s my proper English usage coming out there. :P Tell Nana thanks for the gift. I`ll send her a letter too. Ugh...about the whole shoe thing. I`m determined to make it. I can do it. My feet are really tough. They are studs. I don`t want to have you waste money to send me shoes and then I hardly use them (or don`t use them at all). You helped me out by sending me another box. :D Besides, we`ve had good luck with packages getting through...I don`t want to risk that luck.

So yeah, I have nothing to complain about, not that I tend to complain anyways (not anymore anyways). Next week at this time, conference will be over. :( In case you haven`t been able to tell, I`m excited. Yeppers.

The Lord is blessing us all a ton. He loves us. We are literally His sons and daughters. He more than anybody wants us to succeed in this life and return to Him. We have divine potential. Let us never forget who we are and what we are here to do. The Lord has really blessed me with Spanish. I can effectively communicate exactly what I want to say and people understand me. It`s taken a lot of work, but it`s totally worth it. People think I`m from Spain still. That`s ok. Maybe I should start saying I`m from Spain and just run with it. :) Well my time is running out. Have a wonderful week. Enjoy the few pictures. I love you tons.

Love Always,

DJ

PS. Bernie sent me a little photo album of Nana`s birthday party. Mom, you look really good in those pictures. It looked like you guys had a blast. :D

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Week 88

Yes we walk

Monday, September 19, 2011 7:45 AM

Dear family,
The subject line has reference to something Dad mentioned. We walk a ton here...mostly because last week we had a small ton of lessons take a nosedive on us and crater. It was sad. Saturday was a particularly rough day. We had some good lessons scheduled (none of which went through), but as we were talking later, we decided that the saddest thing was that people who are clearly ready to embrace the gospel didn`t take the next step and reach out to grab the iron rod. My testimony has grown ever more in these last few months and so it just makes me sad when you see people who could clearly better their lives, by just giving up 20 minutes of their lives to listen to a message, but they don`t. We`re not asking them to sacrifice much...20 minutes and 2 seats on the couch...so that they can have more happiness and joy in their lives. It`s sad, but we keep working. We`re currently doing everything we know how to do in order to foment growth in this area. We are seeing miracles and the Lord is blessing us. We probably just aren`t as patient as we need to be. We had a conference for the leaders last week in Montevideo with President. My comp was invited to go too (his name is Elder Coon by the way) and it was really good. We both got even more excited than we were before. I love President da Silva. He`s amazing. He`s really helped this mission and its missionaries in a load of ways.

We have some potential investigators who could get baptized and then we have other newer ones we`re working with. Commitment, however, is a rather large problem. As for the whole city thing...being in the city basically just means that people are less poor. And yeah, there is more movement as well. It`s not too bad.

Okay lets talk about shoes. I am doing everything I can to get through with what I have. My comp thinks I`m nuts, but I`m going to achieve it. I`m putting cardboard in my shoes so that I have something in between my sock and the pavement. :) I`ve only got 3 and a half more months. I think I can do it, so just hold the shoes until further notice. I may just break down soon, but we`ll see. Hey fyi, I received letter number 85 and my birthday package. So thanks. I haven`t opened it yet. I`ll wait until my birthday (the days go by quick enough anyways).

The big thing that we are doing with the members here is trying to get them to invite the people to listen to the missionaries in the member`s house...or get the members to go with them to church or something. Have you possibly considered that. It was a thought that occurred to me the other day during our conference, so in case it`s the spirit, I`m telling you. The Lord is truly preparing this people to hear the gospel. He knows our weaknesses and will strengthen us. All He asks is that we use our agency and do our best.

Well life continues moving on. Enjoy the pics. The one with the yellow beard is Elder McClellan. I lived with him in my last house. He hijacked my camera and took that picture. :) The one with the pond is a funny picture because there is a sign on the ground with the family name that lives there. Clearly it is a family of frogs or something. :D:D

I love you guys a lot. Mom, have a great time at the relief society thing. Hope everything goes well. And then conference! WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I`ll be back next week...same time same place (roughly). Have a wonderful week. Tell Nana not to die yet.

Love Always,
DJ

Monday, September 19, 2011

Week 87

Piedra Alta
Monday, September 12, 2011 7:55 AM

Dear family,

Last Tuesday, I moved from Peach to High Rock. That`s cool. i.e. Durazno to Piedra Alta. So life is good. My new comp is from Bountiful, UT and he`s tight. We are doing well. Sadly this area is destitute and so we basically have to build it up from ground zero. This is the first time that I`ve ever worked in a district so it was interesting yesterday when we had branch conference. The branch seems good...about 60 people in attendance. We´ve gotten started working really hard to gain the confidence of the members. We`re working with a few families to get references and whatnot. Being a district leader is cool, but I don`t have very much time at night anymore. There is another elder companionship and a sister companionship in my district. They`re all doing well and getting along with their comps (the most important part). The zone leaders are cool. I`m just kind of getting used to it all.

We found a couple new investigators this past week...they`re interesting. We`ll see what happens with them. One is blind, but he seems to understand well enough. I got a letter from Elder Bradshaw, my MTC comp who is in the other mission. He is currently in his 8th change in the offices as a financer. That is roughly equivalent to 11 months in the same area. Wow. That`s got to be rough. Elder Wilkey is doing well. He was excited to get a Latino comp to help him with his Spanish a bit more. Elder Dinkel is currently in a zone called Las Piedras and I haven`t seen him for a couple of changes. I might see him soon though since evidently we have some conferences coming up. And speaking of conferences, general conference is in less than 3 weeks. Woo! And it`s my last one out here. Strange. The day before conference I supposedly turn 21, although I don`t believe it. :/

Our ward mission leader here is awesome. He is a returned missionary of 7 months and he`s actually doing things of his own volition to help us. For example he is organizing an activity for the branch and investigators. That`s a first. :D

The house is chill here but needs some serious cleaning. At least it`s not super tiny. My area is basically the downtown area of Florida. It`s different as I`ve not really worked much in the city area before (a little bit in my last area, but that`s it).

I`m just trying to stay focused and work hard. So far I`ve not had many problems. Self-control is key. The pictures are just various families, or scenes, or whatever. I think I included one of my new comp as well.

Um, I don`t know what more to tell you guys. Life is going well. I have overcome that little sickness I had. I`m really excited to work here and help this area out...I just have to manage to keep up that excitement with everything else that goes on. I have really good feelings about this area and my comp is super good. We work well together and we just both want to find people to teach and baptize. He also speaks pretty good Spanish for only being in his 3rd change. Well that`s all for now. Hope you all have a wonderful week.

Love always,

DJ

They also have mac and cheese here. :DD:D:D

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Week 86

Monday, September 5, 2011 8:10 AM

Dear Family...

I AM ATTACHING PICTURES WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have conquered that Mount Everest. uh huh git sum. So I gather that you had a pretty good week. I received no emails from my brothers so I`ll just assume that things are going well with school and all. Word.

So I`m still alive. This last change went by incredibly fast...for the first time in my mission it honestly didn`t feel like time for change calls. Updates. I am indeed leaving. I figured so because I had 4 changes here. I am going to actually (strangely enough) take Elder Polera`s place in the area called Piedra Alta in the zone of Florida. You`ll recall that he was my first comp in this area then he left me to go train. So he trained 2 changes and now I`m going to be his oro`s comp. It`ll be his 3rd change and his name is Elder Coon. I met him at the zone conference we had a few weeks back and I`m excited. Also, I will now be a district leader. That should be a new experience. It`ll be cool because I`ve always wanted to do at least one baptismal interview to see what it is like. :)

Yesterday we had 3 investigators in church. Our really good Carlos came (the one who has been to two baptismal services). I love that guy. I`m sad that I won`t be here for his baptism, but they`ll get me a picture. He got a little emotional when I told him that I would be leaving. Then we had another Carlos show up. We had talked to him a few weeks back and given him a Book of Mormon, but then we stopped going by because he wasn`t there. However, if he`s willing to keep his commitments, the gospel can help him out.

About mail...I recall getting 87 and 88 I think they were over the last few weeks. This week I got 2 from Grams and 1 from Calvin finally. And he also gave me his address which is good. I can`t believe I hit 20 months tomorrow and that I turn 21 (how`d that happen) in 25 days. I am however really excited for General Conference in a few weeks. Also, the district leaders are the ones who get the mail to distribute to others so I`ll be getting my mail at a quicker rate now. Yay!

Pic update...the first is of one of the strongest families I`ve met here in Uruguay. He just got released as bishop in another ward (when they moved) and they have 5 kids...all active. We`ve been working together with them to teach a soon-to-be investigator family that live across from them. Then there is a pic of me in the Uruguayan country side. A pic of a Guayan house and a cow and then a pic of me and another couple in our ward who are super awesome...very dedicated with strong testimonies. This ward has some great members.

By the way, Carlos should be getting baptized on the 24th...hopefully with another one too. We`ll see.

So anyways, that`s my life. I`m super excited to go work my pants off in this new area. Only 3 changes left. Ouch. It should be a blast. I`ve really enjoyed the ward here as well as my time here, but I couldn`t stay another 6 weeks. The Lord knew that I think. Thanks for everything. :)

Hope this week goes well for you guys. Have a wonderful 10 year celebration of September 11th. Only 2 months more until 11-11-11.YAY!!!! Love you all. Say hi to all. Word.

Love always,

DJ

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Week 85

Hi all
Monday, August 29, 2011 8:23 AM

Dear family,

Well, I just went to upload photos this week and it seems like this little stupid card won`t let me. Because I`m in the usual computer place and it`s not letting me. I`m sorry. Technology is frustrating. Ugh. Well I`m doing well.

Let`s see. We`re working with a guy named Carlos right now. I don`t know if I`ve told you about him. He`s the guy that randomly showed up to church. I told you about him on the 1st of August. Anyways, we`re teaching him. He went to the baptism that another ward had on Saturday night (he had also gone to Franco`s baptism) and we set a date with him to get baptized on the 24th. Strangely he did not make it to church yesterday. Oh well. It must have gotten complicated. Yesterday was ward conference. There were a lot of people, but only one investigator. They announced that our chapel will be dedicated on the 11th.

The other young girl that we are working with (the other part member family) has kind of disappeared. They went to church yesterday, but we haven`t had a lesson in a while.

I really love being out here. I was thinking that as of next week (we have changes next week), I will have 3 changes left. It kind of scares me since I realize that I`ve been in this area for 4 changes. I`m going to be home so quick. Ah! We`ll get change calls on Sunday. I love this ward and everything but I`m ready to move on. We`ll see where I go (for probably my last area).

Well, I think that`s pretty much it. I love all of you. The work is progressing here. We are working a lot with members (a lot more I should say) and we`re seeing some good results. My mission president is a boss. I love him. Say hi to everybody for me.

Love always,
DJ

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Week 84

What a Joke
Monday, August 22, 2011 8:06 AM

Okay this is a terrible computer. I´m never coming to this place again. We`re in a new place and it doesn’t work well. The internet has shut down on me like 4 times now and it won`t let me send pictures to you guys. I actually have them here to send and everything. What a joke. Ugh.

So anyways, this last week was pretty interesting. We had a lot of stuff fall through on us and then there was practically nobody in church yesterday. Also I got sick on Saturday and am still not feeling too hot. On the plus side, we have a couple of people that are getting closer to baptism. We had zone conference this last week; that was nice.

Let`s see...life is going pretty well. We`ve only got 2 weeks left in the change. I`m glad that Grandpa had a good birthday. ps. I`m about ready to throw this keyboard through the window. This computer is absolutely horrendous.

Consequently this email is terrible, partly because I can`t think of what to tell you and partly because it`s taking me forever to type. Ignore the mistakes. I am tired of correcting all of them.

I don`t know what to tell you guys. I`m doing alright. I`m getting over my sickness. Hopefully I should be good to go by tomorrow. My comp is doing well. I think that he`ll be fine when I leave the area.

The pancakes we had at a member’s home recently were almost like ours, but that was because they used an American recipe. They don`t have maple syrup, but they have another type of syrup. They were tasty.

Ok. I`m wrapping up this email. Be safe in Provo. Sorry for this sorry excuse for an email. Love you all

Love always,

DJ

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Week 83


Bananas

Monday, August 15, 2011 7:46 AM

Dear family,

This computer is driving me bonkers. If you get the pics I`m sending, it`s a miracle.

This week was pretty good. We had one baptism on Saturday and we did it together with two other wards so we had a three ward baptism with one baptism each. It was really good. Franco (the kid who got baptized) was super happy. There are a couple pictures. Or there should be.

Let`s see. Life is pretty good. We`ve started working more closely with families in the ward, trying to help them get more involved in missionary work. It`s going well. There is this really awesome family (one of the stronger ones). He was recently released as bishop and now they are both temple workers. Their 5 kids are all active as well, one return missionary. So we went on Saturday morning and they fed us pancakes and then we started working with them. I`ve got really good feelings. We were definitely inspired to go visit them and talk about missionary work. Turns out that they are already working off and on with some people and so we`ll be able to help them share the gospel more effectively. Most members really want to share the gospel, but don`t know how. That`s where our work comes in. We teach them how to do it. We`ll continue working with more and more families, which is good because we don`t have a lot of people to teach right now and we`ve hit a tiny dry run. We`re working through it. The good thing is that I feel really good about how things are going.

Happy birthday to Grandpa on Thursday.

My comp is doing well. He`s understanding and speaking more and more every day. He seems to be adjusting pretty well. He`s a really funny kid. I enjoy it because he says things differently and they sound funny. For example, he doesn`t say "go pee" he says "take a wee." It`s wonderful. And the zone leaders we live with are obviously good so we all get along well. Last Monday we played soccer and we were sore until Thursday. We`re playing again here shortly. The Lord is protecting me nicely so that I do not sprain my ankle. Knock on wood. (or touch wood as my comp would say).

You should tell Nana that I only have 4 and a half months left and she can do nothing that will put her life in danger. We`re so close. :D

This past week has been a tiny bit strange. It passed by slowly and really super quickly all at the same time. Sorry for the lack of interesting stuff in this week`s email. But hey at least you have pics. I loved the packages. I`m about ready to make a ray grow. That should be interesting in our little house.

Um, well that`s what I got for now. I don`t know for sure, but we might have another baptism in 2 or 3 weeks. We`ll see how things work out.

Have a wonderful week. I feel like this email has been scatterbrained. I hope you like it. Love you all.

Love

DJ

Monday, August 15, 2011

Week 82

Safe and Alive
Monday, August 8, 2011 10:20 AM

Dear family,

This last week I did not have a close call with a large bear running rampant through the streets of Durazno, and so consequently I am still safe and alive. :)

Life is going pretty well. We just got done playing 2 hours of soccer and I`m tired, but it was enjoyable. My comp plays pretty well and he likes it a lot. This last week was pretty solid. We were going to have 2 baptisms this Saturday, but one of them got pushed back a little bit at the request of the parents (it`s a long story, let`s not go into it), so we will have one baptism this Saturday. The cool part is that we will be having a huge 4 ward baptism with each ward having a baptism. Should be a really nice experience. With regards to the other guy who showed up at church, we went Tuesday and he totally accepted the Book of Mormon saying he`ll read it. He said he needs his time to learn. That`s the goal ;) He didn`t manage to go to church yesterday because he had a family member die at 2:00 in the afternoon (and we start at 2:30). We`ll be seeing him more obviously.

Elder Wilkey is doing really well. I don`t know if I mentioned that he is a bit hard on himself sometimes, so I`m mentioning it again. The reality, though, is that he is improving very well. We`re trying to keep him involved in the lessons and whatnot and we`ve been implementing new ideas to help him progress even faster. We`re having a good time together. The time for me more or less is just disappearing. Weeks just pretty much fly by. I`ve decided that I`m so involved in this lifestyle right now that it`s not really a burden anymore (getting up early, studying a ton, etc.) I`ve also noticed that more or less my testimony has gone from mere belief to sure conviction. It`s just such an integral part of who I am now. The trial will be continuing with that after the mission, when I`m no longer in this atmosphere. That`s cool that Calvin did a missionary lesson with the ward youth. If they asked me I would refuse....or ask for a translator. I cannot by any stretch of the imagination talk about the gospel coherently in English. So yeah, the homecoming talk should be quite strange.

Anyways, as the months pass, I continue working hard. I think my focus has changed a lot recently. Before I did missionary work gladly and happily because it was what was expected of me. Now I think I do missionary work more because I know that it is the best way to help anybody in this world with any problem. The trick is getting them to understand that. The problem is that the church isn`t even 200 years old and Satan`s been working since who knows when. There is a saying in Spanish that roughly says, the devil knows more for being around forever than he does for actually being the devil. The best part however is that we win because we have God and the Spirit. So take that Satan. Yep.

I got letter 79 and 80 today. And I believe I typed wrong 2 weeks ago. I got 77 two weeks ago. I don`t think I have 78 yet. I`ll confirm next week. I also got various letters from Grandma. She`s a studess. :D Thanks for your emails and support. I`m feeling pretty good about everything....at least I`ve got nothing to complain about (and even if I did, I wouldn`t). Thankfully, the weather is milding up a little bit. I always figured Calvin would be AP. That kid`s a stud.

I`ll send pics next week of the baptism, unless I am a noob. We`ll hope not. Love you all a ton. Nobody die...I`ve only got four and a half months left (ish). Tell Nana too. :P

Love always,

DJ

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Week 81

Chinese waterfalls
Monday, August 1, 2011 7:48 AM
Dear Family,

I`m currently in Montevideo because my comp has medical stuff (being new in the country and all) so I`m typing this email on a terrible keyboard. Yay.

So updates. My last comp`s name was Bruno Contrera. I left him in the bus station on Tuesday and then went to the mission home. My new awesome comp is Elder Wilkey from Portsmouth England. :D:D:D He`s awesome. So now in addition to the email I sent last week, there is now one more kid from Spain and 2 from England (my comp and another). And next change there will be another Englishman as well. I`m attaching a pic of me and my comp. He`s a stud. He speaks pretty good Spanish for it being his first week. He doesn’t give himself enough credit. We’re getting along really well and he’s got a lot of desires to work.

Church was good yesterday. We had about 75 people which was good and 2 investigators. We`re teaching 2 part member families right now, the kids of which should be getting baptized in the next couple of weeks. We`ll see. It`s kind of hectic. And then yesterday in church, this contact we had made showed up. We contacted this guy a couple of weeks ago and he promised to go to church. The 17th he was going to go but he locked his keys in the car. And then the 24th was Father’s day. So yesterday he showed up for all 3 hours. After the meeting, I went to talk to him and he said See you next Sunday. I then set up an appointment as well to pass by tomorrow. It`s great. I guess he liked it. He knows a lot about the church and he told us in the contact that he`s really open, but it`s really hard to convince him. :D

I got a letter from Dad and I think it`s number 78 this last week along with two little envelope packages. I haven`t opened them yet because I left at 6:30 this morning. So I`ll thank you in advance. In the box I got from the stake were various snacks and candy as well as some drawings from little kids (or so it appeared). It was really cool.

Hey weird about the kid from Tooele. There were 2 missionaries from that place in my mission. They just went home last Wednesday. You should ask him if he knows Kyle Pratt or Jared Mangelson. I`m assuming he does since Tooele is not a huge city.

Anyhoo, I am grateful for the opportunities the Lord is giving me. Obviously the Lord has trust in me enough for me to train other missionaries. I realize that it is also a huge responsibility. I`m just trying to do the best that I know how to do.

I can`t believe we`re in August already. I turn 21 next month. Actually it`s a lie. I still feel 19. :) Have a wonderful week. I love you all bunches.

Love Always

DJ (the sexy spanish-speaking stud)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Week 80

Bananas
Monday, July 25, 2011 8:07 AM

Hello family,

Speaking of hello. Have you noticed that we really don`t use that word much, especially when greeting people. We usually say "hey, what`s up" or "sup" or "hi" or some other random phrase. Nevertheless, hello seems to be the only English word that people know down here so we constantly get "hello" shouted at us all day. And people are funny, they`ll even say it to 2 Latino missionaries that don`t speak English. :)

Anyways, here I am. I have successfully finished this change. I have learned a ton and the Lord has blessed me. I am now being rewarded and will be training another new comp as of tomorrow (in this same area)! Woo hoo! I`m so super excited. Coming back to this in a sec...my interview with President was really good last week, super good. I went in intending to ask him why I was with my mini missionary. He started off by mentioning how I was in one of the most interesting situations and he more or less answered my questions before I asked them. But I verbalized the one anyways, asking why I was with him. And he said that it`s because he trusts me. Putting a mini-missionary with an iffy comp would be dangerous. He knew I`d be able to handle it and do good work. So that was good. It really helped me. I talked about how I had grown a ton because of what I was going through and he said that I should be at the point now where I continue growing and I just give it my 100% for the last few months (I`ve only got like 5 left. WOW). We didn`t talk about going home or anything. It just didn`t feel like the right time. I`m not going to worry about it. He said in April that we can talk about it later without any problems, so in my next (and last) interview with him in October, we`ll figure it out. Going back to the changes, training a second time means that the President trusts me. There are very few missionaries that get to train more than once, so I feel very privileged and blessed, but I also realize I have a huge responsibility. The other cool news about changes is that Elder Young is coming to be the other zone leader so I`ll get to live with him again...first time in 17 months.

My mini missionary friend is going back to his house to work and wait for his time to leave. His call should come in the next couple of weeks. He`ll be letting us know where he goes.

Since pioneer day doesn`t really exist down here, yesterday was just a regular day. I gave a talk in sacrament meeting. They assigned me on Friday night but didn`t give me a topic because they didn`t want to pressure me too much. I told them ok obviously and I mentioned that I always write 30 to 40 minute talks and then just adapt it to the time limits I have. I`m pretty good about that. So I guess they wanted me to prove it or something (or so it looked like) because I ended up with a 30 minute time block to fill. But it went really well. I had been inspired to talk about the ordinance of the sacrament and it was really good. Everybody seemed to love it, and I did too. The bishop complimented me and said that I brought a great spirit to the meeting and that he envisioned me as a general authority up there speaking. I had just been really praying that the Lord would let the Spirit take my message to the hearts of the people. I think most of us don`t realize the importance or the impact of the sacrament.

That`s really cool about Patrick getting the Melchizedek Priesthood. Speaking of which, we actually gave a blessing of health (is that how you say it in English) last night to a recent convert. I`ve given only a handful of blessings in my mission but they`ve been good experiences.

I did not receive any mail this week, but I should get some tomorrow at changes. Okay, so as of Wednesday I will be the only full-time missionary from our ward. Wow. That`s kind of strange, and I`ll be home fairly soon. July has more or less disappeared. I`m just going to be tearing it up for the next little while. I`ll probably have only one more area after this, so we`ll see what happens.

Last thing, Uruguay won the final of the America Cup last night in soccer. Super crazy. Imagine 4th of July plus BYU vs. U of U on a nationwide scale. It was nuts. :) But super cool too. I`m going to try and buy a newspaper as a souvenir. :D

So, this is my email for now. I`ll let you know all the new details about my comp next week. We`re going to have an awesome change. And we should have at least 2 baptisms as well, hopefully more obviously. This ward here has really grown on me. I`m grateful to be staying another change. Have a wonderful last week of July. Say hi to Calvin for me when you see him. That`s weird that he`s going home in 2 days. Anyways, love you all. Give Grandma a hug for me. :)

Love always,

DJ

ps....no pictures this week. next week there should be some. :)

oops
Monday, July 25, 2011 8:08 AM

I forgot to tell Dad last week that there are 3 missionaries from Spain in the mission right now.

Loves, Deej

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Week 79

It`s cold
Monday, July 18, 2011 7:55 AM
Hi family,

It`s cold. See subject line for a second witness of the truth. :) Last week we had a terribly large storm roll in that decided to affect our work on Friday. Goody. But we worked around it. Life is going pretty well, considering the circumstances and all. I`ve decided that I have simultaneously changed a ton and not at all. Patrick and I are going to be the same age in January (because I think I`m still 19...it`s not like I turn 21 YEARS OLD in 2 months). The Lord has been teaching me so much. The Lord is also blessing us. We are teaching the daughter of a couple that just recently started coming back to church. She should get baptized next week. And then yesterday in church, this other less active (I didn`t even know her) goes for the first time in forever with some grandkids. After the meeting she tells me that her 11 year old grandson wants to listen to the lessons and get baptized. We`re going tomorrow. Aside from them, we are having additional luck in finding people. They truly are blessings from the Lord.

The two zone leaders are really awesome. One is from California (he goes home in a week and a half) and the other is from Utah. Speaking of them, they have both expressed feelings that I am going to train again next change. We`ll see. I suppose it`s possible. You guys will know in next week`s email since we get change calls this Sunday. Like I said, interviews are tomorrow, so I`ll update you on all of that as well.

I got Holly`s letter this week and a letter from Grandma. I also received a package from I dunno who. It was signed for by Nancy Stagg I think. It`s just filled with goodies, but I haven`t read the letters inside yet. I`m slightly confused, but very happy and grateful at the same time. I`m hoping that the letters or whatever they are inside will help clear up my confusion.

So in a week and a half, I will be the only full time missionary from our ward, huh? I feel giggly. :) Congrats to Chris on his job. He is a stud. Oots! Only 1 month of vacations left. HAHAHAHAHA. Bummer dudes. Oh so on Saturday, Uruguay played Argentina in the America Cup (or some soccer hoobob like that). That is a game like Fruita vs. Junction. About 20 minutes after it started we heard a bunch of bombs and screaming signaling that Uruguay had scored a goal. We found out later that they were tied after regulation and ended up going into double overtime. Eventually they did penalties. At 10:00 we were just talking and getting ready for bed and whatnot when the world exploded. Bombs, fireworks, gunshots, screaming, horns honking and anything else that made noise. Obviously we won. :D It was super fun.

Let`s see what else. Life is pretty solid. I don`t have much to complain about...well sometimes I think I do, but I really don`t. I`ve just been realizing how blessed I am to have the gospel in my life. Sometimes I think that it would have been more convenient to have been born somewhere without the gospel, have lived my life normally, and then have received it in the spirit world. I mean that gets me Celestial kingdom too, but then I realize that I am blessed to not only have the gospel, but to share it with people. It`s perfect for absolutely EVERYBODY even though they don`t know that or don`t want it. (I`m shivering, but I`m also kind of sick too. That might be part of it). So yeah. I`m loving it. Just going to take advantage of every last moment and then be stoked to go home.

I think that`s all of the exciting news for now. Have a wonderful week. I`ll be here if you need me. :) Enjoy the warmness that you have. I`m jealous.

Love always,

DJ



Oots
Monday, July 18, 2011 8:00 AM

Um, so to answer really quickly, yes we eat with members. Its the typical, not a lot of pasta but a fair amount And no, Pioneer Day doesn`t really exist anywhere outside of Utah. Beans.

deej

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Week 78

Bananas 2

Monday, July 11, 2011 8:12 AM

Dear family (wherever you may be in the country).

Well I finally managed to send a couple pics of Ana`s baptism. She`s super awesome. She went with the ward to the temple last week. She said she absolutely loved it. Then she was asked to share her testimony yesterday. It was so good. Yay for missionary work!

Quick update, I received letter 74 last week and 76 this week and no I have not received Holly`s letter, but then again our mail system is crazy. Yo.

So life is pretty good. We have people that we are teaching, but we`ve run into several obstacles. One of getting them to church and another of actually having lessons with them because they tend to disappear after the first lesson or so. Fail fail fail. FYI, Prosperidad just had four more baptisms last week. Two of them are relatives of Javier and Valeria that we taught and the other two appear to be relatives/friends of them. I`m not really sure. But it`s super cool. That area is flying.

Aw fish, I forgot to bring the list of things I wanted to mention in my email. I hope there wasn`t anything important. Anyways, our ward is doing well. I think it`s getting more unified and stuff too. I think the new church building has really helped that. I`m really coming to love this ward as I`ve just worked hard and served them. You really tend to love the people that you serve. It`s an amazing experience.

The cold weather has gotten slightly warmer so we`re not freezing quite as much. In fact, at sometimes it is bizarrely warm given that it is the coldest month of the year (supposedly). Ahoy mateys, everybody thinks that everybody else is telling me about Chris`s new job, so consequently I know almost nothing. I gathered that he is going to work on a farm. The end. Perhaps you might like to fill me in on the details if you desire that I know something about the job aside from the above. :) I`ll wait for updates next week. To answer Mom`s question, the super cold weather will be done probably by the end of July (according to the reports), possibly beginning of August. From about August to October, we will have nice weather and then we`ll start getting those really warm days towards the end of October, beginning of November. Then I`ll go home like a tan little monkey.

Thanks for the info on the homecoming talk thing. That`ll be good to know. We`ll have interviews not this week. Speaking of Patrick being excited. I`m super excited as well to be going back to school. More than anything, but that`s in the near future. I’m just taking advantage as much as possible of these experiences while I have them. It is truly a blessing to be on a mission. I`ve never really seen it as a sacrifice, but that`s just me.

So yep, love the mission, love the experiences for as hard as they are. Hope Mom travels back safely. Is Aunt Margaret still going to GJ for Christmas? Have a wonderful week. Bomb sauce. Love you all

Love Always,

DJ

PS. there is a young 4 year old in my ward who calls me Elder Torta (that is Elder cake for you English speaking noobs). :D:D:D:D:D

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Week 77

Dearth
Monday, July 4, 2011 6:35 AM

Dear family,

Here I am once again. The fact that I am writing to you means that I am alive. It`s been very cold here lately...temperatures below freezing. It averages about 58 degrees inside the house. It`s wonderful. So I`m currently in Montevideo because my comp has to go to the dentist for something, and the only dentist approved for missionaries is here in Montevideo.

As far as the work goes, we have stuff to do. We`ve been finding more and more people to teach. We`ve got a couple of good potentials right now (that one married couple has more or less disappeared). We`re finding more and more part-member families to teach too which is good.. Anyways, there was a new chapel recently built for our ward, and we moved in yesterday. It`s really nice and all the members were super happy. The chapels here are all of nice quality.

As far as needing anything, I`m doing good. I`m pretty much surviving with what I have.
Have a great 4th of July and a good week. Hope Mom travels safely.

Love always,

DJ

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Week 76

Monday, June 27, 2011 8:04 AM

Bubbles and Giraffes.

Dear family,

I`m freezing. The (proto)planet Pluto let us borrow its weather so we`re consequently all icecubes. It`s gotten really cold lately. Our house is one of the best in the mission about not letting cold in and stuff and we woke up to it being 53 degrees inside today. Woo hoo! Other than that, we`ve had periodic rain, but not too much. I stay pretty dry with all my gear. That rainjacket was the best 50 dollars ever spent. Oh okay so I was going to mention the shoes. Don`t send them to me yet. I`ve been trying to calculate. I may actually be able to get through with what I have. The newest pair I have right now is holding up well. I don`t walk nearly as fast with these shorter comps so I`m not destroying them as fast. When I was with Dinkel, that was an anomaly because we spedwalk everywhere to just destroy the area. (that’s a good thing) Consequently I destroyed the shoes. Moral of the story...hold off on sending more shoes. I`ll keep you posted.

So Ana`s baptism was really good, but the confirmation was even better. I baptized her. PS. Since I`m a noob and we kind of rushed out the house today I totally forgot to grab the pictures to send. Sorry. I got to participate in the confirmation (the bishop confirmed her). It was super powerful. I felt like a little conduit of power from God to her. She got really emotional during the confirmation. It was super good.

In other area news, we found a good family last week that will hopefully progress. We had a good first lesson and they were both really attentive and he said that he`d love to go to church, only that nobody had ever invited him before. Sadly, they are probably not married, but we`ll see. We`ll also be teaching his sister and her family because she lives next door, loves listening to the missionaries, and was very very close to being baptized a few years back but it didn`t happen. Good stuff.

I received letter 75 and 2 from Grandma. Strangely one of those from Grandma also did not have a postmark. I don`t understand the postal service.

To answer questions...my comp uses a messenger service to communicate with his family on pdays. He gets the same mission allowance, sent to him through my account. We`ll have interviews in this change in July, but zone conference probably won`t be until the end of August or so.

That`s cool that Mom is going to NY. I had no idea. Sounds giggly. Give Nana a hug from me. :) PS...I think I have grown while out here. I`m not entirely sure, but I kind of think so.

Hope you all have a great week. Don`t die.

Love,
DJ

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Week 75

Loves and Bananas Monday, June 21, 2011 8:09 AM

WOO! I have pictures to attach today. Woo!!!


Dearest family of mine.

Well how was your week. I got to see the pictures of the quilts. That`s pretty awesome. I’m glad everything went well for you guys. The Relief Society quilt looks pretty cuddly. :D So life continues here in Uruguay. Somebody gave us a big bucket of fail for weather. We haven`t seen appreciable blue sky since last Tuesday I think. Thursday it poured and Saturday night it poured, with other random showers elsewhere. On Thursday, I think I had a tiny patch on my clothing that wasn`t wet. Anyways, because the humidity is about 342% right now, nothing dries....ever. Our house smells terrible and things don`t dry. I think I just mentioned that, but it is important enough to mention it again. It perplexes me beyond reason. Last night we once again were comfortable with just long sleeve white shirts on. I keep imagining going out in December back home with just a white shirt and then I get frostbite just from thinking about it. It`s bizarre.

Yes, Ana is getting baptized this week. It should be great. I`m hoping for a small country of people to show up. :) So my comp is pretty solid. He has a really good drive to work and he`s not afraid to talk to people. So that`s awesome. And he`s funny. (I`ve included a picture of him). He just turned 19 last Thursday. He`s from Atlantida which is about half an hour out of Montevideo or so. He`s been a member for 8 years now, and his family members are also members, but inactive. He`s already sent in his papers (he`s already an elder) and will be receiving his call shortly.

Quick update on pictures...last week we made sub sandwiches (all for less than 5 dollars) and the week before we made tacos. So you`ll see pictures of that. And then I included a cool picture of clouds, and a picture of the postmarkless letter. :)

As far as the Latino missionaries that were with me the first 3 weeks, I met them in the MTC but haven`t seen them again out here, but I think that`s because there are maybe only 2 (if that). The Latinos who were with me for the last 3 weeks and came with me to the country are more plentiful and I’ve been in zones with a handful of them.

PS...I don`t know what a quilt writer is...or why they would write for the Daily Sentinel.

Good news...tomorrow is the Solstice. HOORAY! the days will start getting longer again. I`m sick and tired of it getting dark at 6. People down here are completely governed by daylight. It makes work harder.

Well I really don`t have much to share for today. It`s really interesting playing the piano down here because strangely entire congregations have learned songs wrong. In other words, they have all developed these little things in songs that make it kind of hard to play to sometimes (or they`ll just sing whatever they feel like). For instance, they all sing the last couple measures of True to the Faith hymn about 85 times faster than the rest of the song. :) It`s an experience to be sure.

Well have a great week. Love you all lots. What day does school start on in August? And when does winter break start? They are questions I have. Give me answers or I`ll shoot a duck. :)

Love always,
DJ

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Week 74

Changes

Monday, June 13, 2011 7:35 AM

Dear family,

This past week was fairly solid. We have our one investigator, Ana, that is flying. She basically doesn`t even need us to teach her. The Lord already prepared her. It also helps that her brother is a bishop of the other ward. She`s getting baptized on June 25th. She`s super excited. I`ll be here because I`m not going anywhere, but my comp is leaving tomorrow. My new companion is unknown at the moment because I have what is called a corto plazo in Spanish. That translates more or less to short term. Basically, when the number of missionaries is odd or some other weird funky thing is happening, they get Uruguayan members (of missionary age) to be mini-missionaries for a change (or two very occasionally). Thus my new comp is some Uruguayan dude that I don´t know yet. I don`t really know what to think about that assignment. Basically I`m happy with whatever as long as I can work, but we`ll see how it all pans out. I`m optimistic. We`re still working diligently here in our area. Things are improving, but they still have a long way to go. I also found out that the kid that Elder Whitaker trained is now going to be training. That means he is a stud because I only know one other missionary who trained his 3rd change (right after being trained) and he has now been a zone leader for 7 changes. So the work is flying over there in Prosperidad.

You may recall that last week I mentioned we were going to have a conference with Elder Bradley D. Foster of the Quorum of Seventy. We did last Friday. It was really good. He`s actually a really different guy than I was expecting, but totally cool. Really funny and he shared some great things. He made a comment that I had actually made about a year ago. He said that missions are really for the missionaries because the Lord could (if he wanted to) convert people in a way that is much easier and faster, but he chooses to use missionaries. Turns out that when all is said and done the missionaries are the ones who are most blessed.

I got letter 73 this week. And yes I get Grandma`s letters at about the same rate. I`m always grateful for the news from home. I realize that I pretty much don`t know anything about life back home so any little news is good news. :)

Our weather here is terribly bizarre. It`s obviously been getting chillier (since this is the equivalent of December for us) but we have these periodic warm days. For instance, last night we went out and worked in just our white shirts and weren`t cold at all. I can`t imagine going outside in just a white shirt in December in Colorado and not turning into an icicle, but maybe my memory is failing me. So, life is good. We think part of the weather pattern may be from the volcanic eruption in Chile recently, but it was like this last year too. This country just has weird weather I think.

So Brother Burton is still the YM president then? Good stuff.

Oh yeah, we got the conference issue of the magazine this past week. I read the whole thing in 2 days. It is awesome. Conference is like Christmas for us missionaries. We`re weird. What do you expect. Elder Scott`s talk is amazing in the sense that it really isn`t a talk, but more a reminiscence time. He still manages to convey his point and now temple marriages have probably skyrocketed. So yeah. Read them and treasure them. They`ll do us good.

One of the sister missionaries serving from the ward here got back this last week from Chile. She gave her homecoming talk yesterday and spoke for only 8 minutes. I was bummed. Rest assured I`ll be speaking longer than 8 minutes when I get home (but that may mostly be because I`ll have to search my brain for all of the gospel words in English.) That`s my story. The end. And no I don`t have time to tell it again. :)

Well. I think that is the amazing fun interesting out-of-this-world news for this week. Hope you have enjoyed it. I love you all. My family is amazing. Yay! Have a great week. You`ll never again live this week in your life so make the most out of it. Giggles.

Love Always,

DJ

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Week 73

WOOOOOO!
Monday, June 6, 2011 8:00 AM
You`ll notice that the subject line of this letter conveys excitement and happiness. This is because stuff is happening! WOO!

Dear Family,

Welcome to another day in life on earth. Hooray for probationary times. As kind of a random sidenote, the plan of salvation is really nice. Good stuff. So yeah, like I said, stuff is happening. We had 3...I repeat 3...investigators in church yesterday. Um, the family that we found is currently on hold because we went by to have our lesson but they were busy. However, we have another investigator named Rosario who is the sister of a really good member in our ward. She has been investigating for at least as long as my comp has been in this area. Anyways, she`s way cool. We had companion exchanges on Friday so I wasn`t here in this area. My comp and the other missionary went to visit her and invited her to church (like we`ve done millions of times before and she`s never showed up) so you can imagine our surprise and joy when she showed up halfway through. We`re going back to visit her tonight so we`ll see what happens. The other huge miracle this week is Ana. She is the sister of the bishop of the other ward in our building. She was a reference at the end of April from our ward missionary. We went that same day to visit with her and had a good lesson and whatnot. We had scheduled another lesson, but when we went back, she wasn`t there because things had gotten complicated. We passed by various times trying to find her, but never could and she didn`t answer her phone. Well, this last Tuesday, the Zone Leaders said that they had had a Family Home Evening with their bishop and the bishop`s sister had been there. They communicated to us that she was waiting for us and that she wanted to get baptized. So we called her right away and went Wednesday and then again Saturday. Woo! And then she went to church yesterday with our ward missionary and loved it. She has a baptismal date for the 25th of this month. We`re stoked. The third person was the son of a less active who was actually brought to church by the bishop and his family. It was actually a reference that they had passed us last week and we were going to go this week to visit the family. HOORAY! The most wonderful part is that our ward handled it well. They were friendly and everything (most of the ward actually knows Rosario and Ana anyways) and we had a really good testimony meeting....probably one of the best I`ve seen here in Uruguay. YAY!

Aside from those miracles we saw various other miracles that have to do with us finding more people to teach. It`s good stuff. Changes are next week so it`ll be interesting to see what happens. The Lord is blessing us. He saw our work.

I received letters 71 and 72. The interesting thing is that letter 71 was not postmarked at all. i.e. I could use the stamp again if I wanted. I`m still confused on how it got across the oceans. The package has not arrived, but I suspect that I`ll get it this Friday because we have a tri-zone conference with Elder Bradley D. Foster of the Seventy. They usually bring packages to those types of things. But yeah, that should be a good conference too. I`m excited.

Oh, so Cy moved. Poo. I sent him a letter about 3 weeks ago. Chances are that he will never see it. Oots. Tell him to write or I`ll beat him senseless in 7 months. Speaking of which, I hit 17 months today in the mission. Woo!

You guys always thought I got my luck from dad...I actually got it from Nana. :D

Ok. So that`s pretty much my week in a nutshell. It kind of flew by I think. I hope I haven`t left out any wonderful details. Well I hope you guys have a great week. Happy D-Day. I don`t think there are any important holidays this week. Oh well. Is Velvet better? Loves to all! Sauce.

Love,

DJ

PS: It`s freezing here now. But don`t worry. I`ll survive.

PPS: Is this an abnormally short email? At least it has positive happy stuff in it. Giggles.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Week 72

Hi family
Monday, May 30, 2011 9:36 AM
Hello family,

Well it has been a week since I last wrote. That`s a nice picture of the garden. Hopefully it’ll work for you guys.

Well, this last week went well (to be read better than the previous week). At least we were able to find some more people to teach. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And they are all pretty great too. We found this older couple who are super awesome. And get this.....they don`t drink. don`t smoke. and THEY ARE MARRIED. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We`ve only had one lesson but I`m excited already. Giggles.

Yesterday I gave a talk in sacrament meeting on preparing ourselves to receive personal revelation. It went well and people complimented me on it.

So I received the music. Thanks a ton. But I haven`t gotten anything else because the mail is now even more crazy than usual. I think they`re changing things around or something. So yeah. I`ll keep you guys posted. At this rate, you`ll have to stop writing to me on my birthday. Hee hee.

As far as the whole weather thing, we got a little rain last week and it`s definitely starting to get colder, but I`m holding up pretty well. I don`t have a particularly hard time with cold weather anyways. I have noticed, though, that I have a huge craving for Christmas right now (like from home). Because what happened...last June and July when it was winter here I didn`t need Christmas because I just had had it 6 months prior. Then when Christmas actually happened, my brain didn`t register it at all because of the lack of decorations and dearth of cold weather. In fact I sweated my face off. So now my brain sees it getting cold again and as far as it`s concerned, it`s been 17 months since I`ve had Christmas and it wants one. Sad times.

Well that`s cool about Scott`s internship, but I don`t really understand what ¨computer vision research for deception detection¨ means. Um...my font just changed arbitrarily. What.. Whatever. Cool for him. And yes Holly had communicated to me that she was going to be in London. Fun times.

Oh yeah, so the lady the zone leaders were teaching got baptized on Saturday. We went. It was super good. She`s changed a lot since I first met her. I`ll copy the little thing that they publish in our newsletter so Patrick can try to translate it.
Historia de Conversión de

Hilda Gutiérrez
Ella es una mujer de 52 años, vive sola, y era muy evangélica, a tal grado que estaba organizando una iglesia en su casa, cuando era el momento de orar, ella lloraba y gritaba, al paso del tiempo y ayuda de los miembros comenzó a comprender lo que es la doctrina de Cristo, entendió de que existía una manera más pacífica para adorar a Dios, le invitamos a la capilla, ella fue y llevaba su ropa bautismal, al cabo de 7 semanas, tras muchas charlas de explicarle de la paz y tranquilidad que esto requería aprendió y supo por ella misma la veracidad de este evangelio, llegó el dia de su bautismo, con muchas pruebas y desafíos, su único acompañante (un perro) se perdió, ella dijo: “son pruebas”, con la ayuda de la oración, ella se pudo bautizar!! Y apareció su perro!! Ella es feliz, y tiene un testimonio de este único y hermoso evangelio verdadero.

Elder Llamín
Elder Erickson
Hospital


The zone leaders are Elder Llamin and Elder Erickson in the area of Hospital. Oh good, my font changed back. Yay!

Well, I don`t have a lot more to report. We`re still going strong here, trying to learn as much as possible. I`m really grateful for the chance to be out here. It`s good stuff. Um, so enjoy moving into June. Bt the way, Cy`s birthday is Tuesday if you happen to see him. Oh I guess that would be tomorrow. So yeah.

Have a wonderful week. Don`t eat bugs.

Love always,

DJ