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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

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