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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