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DJ with his new washer

DJ with his new washer
Piedra Alta, Uruguay

Ramon's Baptism

Ramon's Baptism

DJ and new Companion Elder Craynor

DJ and new Companion Elder Craynor

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Week 63

Puppies
Monday, March 28, 2011 8:26 AM
Hey family.

I really gotta find a new way to start out these emails. It`s kind of like my journal entries and my letters to the mission president...I never know how to start them.

So life is really good here in Durazno. Um...not so much by way of touristy area. It is a pretty little city though. Lots of trees. I live with the zone leaders and they`re pretty cool, especially the one from Chile so we get along really well. The house is really nice too, we even have an air conditioning unit. Wow. I`ll get some pictures of the house eventually to send them to you. Um, let`s see...my comp also is really cool. We get along really well, partly because we like a lot of the same things. We have semi-similar personalities. He is from North Carolina. He is the senior comp and he finishes in October. I included a picture of us. The other 3 pictures I took last Monday. One is of me and Elder Dinkel with our awesome ward mission leader. Another (with us standing) is the awesome elders quorum president and his family. They are absolutely amazing. The picture with us on the couch, is the Sunday School President and his family. They`re all super and really strong members.

Ok, so more about this new area. My comp is working hard at being obedient and whatnot. The area on the other hand is dead. We have very few investigators and none of them are terribly solid. We had nobody in church yesterday. Quite a difference from my last area. It`s unfortunate, but I`m not terribly worried, because I know the Lord will help us if we merit it. The ward seems nice, the bishop is awesome. I had to give a short talk yesterday and introduce myself. I winged it, basically. It was only 10 minutes on prophets since conference is coming up. Speaking of conference, I`m super excited. We`re going to have a blast. I love it.

So, funny story. There have been multiple of people who think I`m from Spain. Evidently I have some kind of accent that leads people to believe that I`m not American, but they can`t place the accent terribly well or something because they tend to think I`m Spanish. Oh well. I`m not complaining. As long as I don`t sound like a gringo. That has been my goal since forever. The Lord has blessed me.

Oh, sorry. I guess I forgot to tell you like 3 weeks ago that I received the package. And this week I got letters 60 and 61. I`m kind of hoping that mail will be more regular now since I live with the zone leaders and all the mail for the zone gets sent to them. Fingers crossed. Um, yes I play piano. I played all the time in my last area and I think I`ll be playing all the time here because they don`t have anybody. Both wards were super excited when I arrived in the area and they found out that I played the piano. The last ward didn`t want me to leave because they wouldn`t have anybody to play the piano. :)

In this new area, we have lunch almost every day. I think there might be one or two days a month when we don`t. So that`s really nice. And yes we walk. Thank goodness. I hate bikes. In the city of Durazno here, there are 8 missionaries...two houses of 4. My last comp lives in the other house and his area borders mine to the north. So that`s cool. We`ll get to see each other tomorrow at district meeting.

Um, what else do I have to communicate to you guys. Not much, I think. Life is going well. I wish we could get this area rolling a little bit more, but it`ll come. At least my comp wants to work, and we work well together. We also teach remarkably well together, so that`s a plus as well. Oh, so I`m now in the 10th change of my mission in the field. Hooray for double digits! And I have single digit number of months left. Don`t anybody sneeze or I`ll be home. :D

I`m really excited to be here and to try to help get the work rolling again. I`m praying that those people all get baptized in my last area. I think I`ll like it here, but I have this tiny feeling that I`m not going to be here very long. I dunno, and we`ll obviously see what happens in the future, but it`s just this little tiny feeling I get. Oots.

Well, have fun. Enjoy conference and whatnot. It`s such a blessing to have a prophet on the earth. I think we underestimate the blessing that it is. Can you imagine what life must have been like before the restoration? Dark times. Thanks for the emails. Enjoy moving into the month of April.......already. Cheers!

Love Always,

DJ

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Week 62

SURPRISE!
Monday, March 21, 2011 1:53 PM
Hello family family family,

Well today is my last day in this wonderful little area. The crazy part is that it`s my comp`s last day too. Yep. They did what is called a whitewash where they take out both missionaries at the same time. There is a pretty good seasoned missionary coming in who has been a zone leader previously. He seems like a solid missionary and he will be training a new missionary. Yep, they should be able to get a rocking start and keep with the momentum. I mean they are coming right in having a baptism. And then they have 2 more 2 weeks later. The good part is I feel really confident leaving everything in the hands of them and the ward. The members here are so involved with the investigators.

My comp and I are both going to the city of Durazno, but we`ll be in different areas. We could be in the same district, but we`ll for sure be in the same zone. I`m going as a junior companion to be with an Elder Polera who has 2 changes more than me I believe. And my district leader here made the comment that he thinks I`m going there to help him. Alas, such is my lot in life. I just bounce around the mission helping people. I`m not complaining. I got 2 awesome changes with the best kid on the planet to have as comp and we did missionary work the way it`s supposed to be done (or so we feel). I don`t think we have any regrets about our work over these 12 weeks. We averaged exactly 7 investigators in church each week for that period of 12 weeks, which is really good considering that getting 5 there is solid. The only slightly unfortunate news is that I`ll be once again living in a house of 4 elders...supposedly we`re living with the zone leaders. Oh well, it`ll be a good change. I can`t believe that I`m entering my 10th change in the field.....double digits already. Oots. We have conference in 2 weeks. Hooray! And I`ll probably get to watch it with my comp now since we will be in the same zone.

Congrats to BYU. How cool would that be if they won the whole thing. Oh yeah.

So, when I called the members here and told them, they were all shocked...and not entirely happy. But they`re awesome. They`ll help the new missionaries get into the swing of things. Today has been really bizarre. It hasn`t felt like Pday at all, but we`ve gotten a lot accomplished.

Let`s see. As far as investigators this past week. They`re doing well. We had 8 in church again yesterday. We had dinner with one investigator family on Wednesday and one on Thursday. Sadly, I got sick on Wednesday night and had to take the food home. I ended up spending that night feeling terrible. We had all of these appointments lined up with some of my favorite foods and I so desperately wanted to eat all of it, but I wasn`t hungry. The next day I felt perfect. And my throat didn`t hurt at all from vomiting, which is weird. There was absolutely no acid or anything. Hmmm.

I`m really excited to go to a new area, although I do hate packing. I`ve heard a lot of good things about Durazno (that means peach by the way). Supposedly it`s really pretty. I`m obviously going there for a reason, so we`ll try to figure out what it is. There should be some stuff to take pics of.

Speaking of pics, I`ve just attached various pictures that we`ve taken with members or investigators. There is also one picture of the full moon and a cool view of one of the streets in this area.

Today I`ve eaten really well...a lot of healthy food. I had ice cream and then a pudding bread filled with chocolate. Mmm. Although I did weigh myself and I`m losing weight. I`m now 77.2 kilos which is about 170 pounds. You may call me the bean pole. And yes I think I am still growing....at least that`s what I think and people have made comments. You could be in for a surprise when I get home.

I have nothing else to share with the class today. Any questions? Please be sure to raise your hands. Ooh!!!!!! I just thought of something...if it`s true that I live with the zone leaders, I should be able to get mail faster because the mail usually gets sent to them first. Hopefully. Fingers crossed.

Thanks so much for your love (whether willingly or unwillingly given) and your support. It`s such a blessing to be out here. And I absolutely love speaking Spanish. You should all learn so that you can communicate with me when I get home in case I just give up English for good. :D Sauce sauce sauce.

Have a wonderful week in the lovely spring time of the United States. We are getting cooler here, thanks to everything that is good and holy.

Take care of yourselves. I lurves you all. :)

Love Always,

DJ

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Week 61

Albondigas (that means meatballs)

14 March 2011

Hello family,

Here we are after another very solidly successful week in Uruguay. Regrettably, however, I am once again typing on the computer that enjoys putting spaces in random places. Oots.

The weather is finally starting to cool off, but we still have really hot days. Friday it was 38 degrees Celsius which is over 100 Fahrenheit. Wow, but today it`s nice and refreshing. It rained Saturday night so we were worried about church, but God answered our prayers and it was just a sky full of cumulus clouds on Sunday morning. And it turned out that we had one of the best days in church ever. We had at least 65 people there which included 8 investigators and a handful of less actives we are working with (a few who made it for the first time in a long time). Our gospel principles class was full to the max. We had about 20 people in there. It was super cool.

Now for the update on investigators. Javier (who is less active) and his wife Valeria went last week and are now going to get married on the 24th. He`ll baptize her on the 26th of this month. Miguel and Natalia went and are getting married on the 5th of April. They`ll get baptized the week after conference on the 9th. Maria Elena and Gualberto are going this week to get a marriage date. Ramon and Cristina finally went and started the tedious process of divorce (he has to get divorced before he can marry her). So it was a good week all the way around. I`m just super excited that they`re getting baptized even though it`s likely I won`t be here. I was called to this mission for the salvation of souls...so it looks like I find them and others baptize them. I`m ok with that. I am going to miss them a lot though, so I`ll be taking my camera around this week to get photos. The Ward is super happy too. Not to toot our own horn, but I think they`re enjoying having 2 solid missionaries here and they`re excited for these baptisms as well. All of the organizations are getting involved so that they stay active after baptism. Our ward mission leader (as well as my comp and my district leader) are all praying for me to stay. We`ll see what the Lord says.

Thanks for the updates on March madness, NASA, and the tsunami. We heard a little bit about that earthquake, but we were hoping for more details so thanks. Um...sauce.

So for pictures, there is a picture of our owner`s dog. We live in the backyard house of our owners. The dog is cool but kind of psychotic. He barks at us and only us. And occasionally he tries to eat our shoes.

Yeah so anyways, people love us here. In addition to our lunches this week, we are being fed dinner Wednesday and Thursday by two different investigator families. Hooray!

Oh so Saturday night we changed our clocks back...and I think you guys went forward so we`re now only 3 hours apart. It was nice to get more sleep. Word.

I got no mail this past week even though they handed it out. This is the first time in my mission that mail has not come for me when they handed it out. Oh well. There is a first time for everything. Not a huge deal. Remember that transfers were all changed. Pday is still Monday so I`ll be writing in a week to update you on the happenings. Thanks so much for your support and prayers. I love you all pila (that means a lot). :D

Love always,

DJ


P.S. Oots, I forgot to mention that my comp is awesome and we`ve averaged over these 11 weeks so far to have 7 investigators in church each week. That`s super awesome. I`m going to miss Elder Dinkel. Sad face. Oh well...we`ll see what the Lord has in store. :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Week 60

March 7, 2011

Well family,

That`s awesome that BYU was ranked 3rd and super bummer that they lost their power forward. Hopefully they`ll still be able to do well in the NCAA tournament. The rest of the team is going to have to really step it up. Good juju for them.

Well, here we are in Prosperidad still and I`m on a computer that has a good keyboard. Didn`t know those existed down here. Wow. We had 8 investigators in church yesterday...that`s pretty much the average lately. Today and tomorrow are holidays...ok sidenote, get this. School started last Tuesday and now they already have a two day holiday and some schools are giving the whole week off. So that makes 4 class days to 5 holiday days, no wonder education fails down here, sidenote terminated. So anyways, we have two couples going to get marriage dates on Wednesday, one to do divorce things, and then another couple that does not yet have a predetermined date but are going soon. The only sad part is that generally they will get married 2 weeks later (after going the first time) which more than likely means that these people will all get married and baptized the week I leave. poo. I really hope it works out better than that but we`ll see. I think I would be pretty much heartbroken and devastated if they all get baptized the Saturday after I left. I don`t really care about (missing) the baptisms themselves, It`s more of the fact that these people are my family. I`ve found all of them and taught them everything since being here. It`s hard enough realizing that I`m not likely to ever see them again in my life. :(

To answer your question...yes I received letters 58,59,and A. I also got a letter from Sister Beth Peacock...evidently a recent convert in the ward. She wrote a really nice letter where she shared her conversion story. It was really nice. So you can let her know that I got the letter safe and sound. I was so confused when I received it, because I do not know her. Also, I was going to send pictures this week, but sadly this computer does not recognize things put into the usb ports. So I guess it`s either pictures or a good keyboard. :/

Huge congrats to Patty (Patrick) and Krees (Chris) on the super man-style win in the championship (Church basketball) game.

Well, the mission is super awesome. I hit 14 months yesterday. How did that happen? I swear we just hit new years last week. Oh well. I`m living it up out here. My comp and I are seeing some amazing miracles. Also it`s absolutely amazing how the Spirit directs lessons. On Saturday we gave the same general lesson 3 times to 3 of our main investigator families. It was about covenants and the main focus of the lesson was to make sure they knew who they are making a covenant with. I told them flat out that they don`t go to church for the people or the bishop. They go for God and some time during their life they will see something they don`t like in the church. They just have to accept it and move on. It`s a very direct lesson, and I seriously doubt that there are many missionaries who would give that lesson, but my purpose (as I see it) is to give them as many tools as possible to stay active permanently. Anyways, as I was saying, we taught it 3 times and the Spirit cleverly adapted to each of their needs. During the last time we taught it, I was thinking about what we had done previously, but it just didn`t feel right so we took a slightly different track and ended up talking about gossip, which we hadn`t touched on previously. Well it turns out that that couple had been talking about that very subject of gossiping right before we arrived. We had no idea, but the Spirit did. It`s really cool how that all works out.

As for the weather, it is cooling down very slightly, but we still have hot days. We do have a type of fall, where it starts to rain more, but it won`t get terribly freezing until June or July so that`ll be fun. Last year we walked around in short sleeve shirts until June.

Have a great week. Velvet`s (family dog) birthday is coming up soon. Don`t forget to give her some love. :) I love you all. Thanks for your support and prayers.

Love Always,

DJ

Say hi to everybody for me...like always.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Week 59

February 28, 2011

Hey family,

Well sadly, y´all be hugely disappointed because I have no pictures to send yet again. Oots, and the other huge disappointment is going to come in the form of extra spaces in my typing because sadly, key boards here leave a lot to be desired. Another oots.

On the plus side, life is good. We had a super awesome week this past week. We had 8 in church, but that was without two of our star couples so we could have easily had 12. The less actives are finding hard motivation to get to church, but we`re working constantly with them anyways. This key board is aweful, ugh, but I`m tired of hitting the backspace key so cry me a river, build a bridge, and get over it. :D

Anyways, as I was saying, our week felt like one constant spiritual high...

....so yeah, we had a bunch of spiritual lessons. Each month in the mission we have a goal of baptisms for each area. My comp and I really prayed about what we should put as our goal and so we put 6. We`re now going to continue working hard to accomplish that. It`s really possible because of a few things. First, Maria Elena and Gualberto have now overcome the desire to not get married (finally) and have agreed to do so, thus allowing further progression in the gospel. and we received information last week from our newly called ward mission leader that people can go to another city a little bit farther north (but out of the department of Montevideo) and get married in 2 weeks instead of 2 months. HOORAY! It is the happy happy. Let`s see...we also found a cool little family of a mother and 4 kids (3 of which are baptism age). We`re hoping to get them taught too. They accepted the challenge to read and pray about the Book of Mormon during the first lesson. We had a good lesson with a less active who was baptized 22 years ago, but promptly went inactive. She was saying that the Book of Mormon doesn`t answer the questions she has...so the Spirit promptly communicated to us to use Enos and Alma 32 from the Book of Mormon to prove that it does. I know it was revelation, because as soon as she read a few verses, she answered her own question and continued reading without us saying anything at all. We truly are instruments in the hands of the Lord.

Funny story...last week we saw 3 people on a motorcycle (not unusual since I`ve seen up to 6), but the bizarre part was that said family also had a full grown Labrador Retriever with them on said motorcycle. Wow.

Oh, another lesson we had was with this less active couple who is actually sealed in the temple, but they aren`t doing anything for their salvation right now. So we were really nice and left them reading material.

Hey did anything happen with NASA or the NASA program. Somebody down here was saying that NASA had been shut down, but we all know how reliable the news is....especially in Uruguay.

Wonderful news...I was going through my suitcases today and discovered that mold had attacked some clothes. Oh well, don`t worry about it. I`m just going to wash them with bleach and whatnot. Good stuff.

I swear I don`t have epilepsy, even though my typing would lead you to believe otherwise.

Congrats to BYU for beating SDSU. What is BYU`s record and when does March madness start?

So, have a good first week of March. I`ll be back in a week to send another email. Shocking, today is my 60th pday. woo hoo! have a great lifetime. When`s Spring break? Classes here start tomorrow. Thankfully, Summer is coming to an end, which means that I`ll get to freeze soon. WHEE! I`ll be fine. I got warm clothes coming out of my ears. :D Peace to the out, yos.

Love Always,

DJ