Wow, the first week in the field has been awesome.
I arrived in Osorno and was welcomed by President Isom and his wife who are pretty much the kindest most inspiring fatherly/motherly mission presidents that have ever been. We stayed 1 night in Osorno and I got to know some of the other missionaries there and go out contacting for my first time to get a feel for it.
We had a great meal with all the new missionaries and the president then got on a bus to Castro. At the terminal in Castro I met my trainer who is an adventure loving, super energetic, very fun missionary. I am so happy I got such a great trainer! We got on a bus for Chilóe and talked about how awesome the mission is and what the island is like (Chilóe is an island!). After a while the bus drove onto a barge and I soon got my first view of Chilóe! It’s absolutely beautiful, green rolling hills, miles of beaches, and cute little houses.
We dropped off my bags at the house before heading over to Momitas where we ate a very late lunch. Momita is a member of the ward who is paid to feed us every day (except Sunday and Monday) for lunch except she makes so much food that lunch is the only meal we ever eat. I got to know her family and who are so awesome, they have helped me a lot with my Spanish.
The week flew by, I got to go visit some of the investigators and members plus some contacting and I’m loving it. This morning we (me, Elder Ferrell, the sister missionaries, and the other elders from Dalcalue) took a bus south and saw some really amazing waterfalls and got lots of pictures but I forgot my camera and I’ll have to have the sister missionaries send me the photos.
I love it here and there is so much work to be done. My Spanish is far from perfect but its progressing every day and I have faith in the Lord to help me.
Love you all!
On Monday we had an amazing devotional given by President Bennet and his wife about the plan of Salvation and how sacred the temple ordinances are. They bore their testimonies and we all felt the Spirit really strong.
Wow! It’s crazy to think I’ve already been gone for so long. I can’t wait to get out in the field.
I had an amazing experience this week when I was teaching a lesson and I felt the Spirit really strong and whereas normally I have to think about/plan out what words I’m going to say in Spanish, this time I was teaching the plan of salvation and I forgot all about planning out what to say or translating over in my head from English and just started talking about the plan, our divine potential, and about life after death. I felt an enormous love for my investigator and desire for him to experience the same joy that I did. It was wonderful.
Another blessing this week is that Elder Christopherson didn’t have to go home – his blood pressure is still very high but the doctor wants to make sure he really needs to go home. They gave him another kind of medication that seemed to work at first but like the previous medication it quickly stopped helping and he went from 133/93 to 157/91. Earlier today we went back to the lab and he had his blood taken to check for what the cause might be and well get the results tomorrow which is likely when we will find out if he is going home or not. Please continue to pray for him.
I love you all so much and encourage you to serve a mission, I know I’m only a little over a month in, but I’ve already learned so much and had so many amazing experiences.
We watched Elder Hales’ funeral last week. And this was an interesting week. On Monday we had an amazing devotional given by President Bennet and his wife about the plan of Salvation and how sacred the temple ordinances are. They bore their testimonies and we all felt the Spirit really strong.
I got the pumpkin pie my parents sent on Tuesday and we had a party and ate it for breakfast yesterday.
Me and Elder Christopherson got to leave the compound (CCM) because he had to get a blood sample taken, he has had unusually high blood pressure ever since we got here. We got back and had an amazing devotional broadcast from the Provo MTC. Wednesday was going great until we went to the Infermaria just before dinner to get the results from the test. Elder Pugmire (the head doctor here) said that the tests were perfect and that the high blood pressure was not causing any problems with his organs but that because the blood pressure has not returned to normal even after taking medication once then twice daily he would likely have to return home until he could get the blood pressure problem under control. I have started fasting for him and I invite you to include him in your prayers. He is an amazing missionary with a powerful testimony and a great desire to serve. Your prayers are much appreciated.
Love you all and encourage you to choose to serve a mission if you are of age, it will bless your life tremendously.
I woke up this morning (like most mornings) to the beautiful sound of anti-cloud fireworks (an old Mexican superstition) and realized I had forgotten to mention it in my emails. The Mexican people have a superstition that aerial fireworks scare way clouds (especially when set off at extremely inconvenient hours) and so love to set off plenty when it begins to look cloudy or even when the sky is clear (just to be safe). So about every 2-3 hours they’ll set off several very large aerial fireworks and of course when it starts raining they set off several more before giving up. It’s actually quite enjoyable when it happens during class time as you can watch fireworks displays through the window almost daily. The scary thing is when you hear something that sounds very similar to fireworks but its a bit more sharp and you can’t see any fireworks. That’s only happened 4-5 times but one time we heard what was most certainly a shootout which lasted for several minutes, fortunately the CCM is surrounded by 10 foot walls topped with barbed wire and we’re on the Lords mission. Anyways, enough about fireworks and gunfights.
My Spanish is coming along really well and our practice lessons are improving immensely. About 150 new missionaries got here Tuesday and its strange to see them around. I feel so much older than them even though most of them are older than me, hearing their Spanish has really helped me to realize how far we have come since week 1. The gift of tongues is definitely real and at work here in the CCM. I’m getting along really well with my comp.
I also realized that I haven’t told you about my district much yet. Our President is Davis and his comp is Elder Martin, then there’s Elder Wilhelmsen (which is a really difficult name to pronounce if your native Spanish speaking) his comp is Elder Spencer who is a few years older than us but it’s really cool that he chose to come out here and serve despite that. We have two hermanas in our district Hermana Ballard (no she’s not related to the famous one) and Hermana Larsen (and of course me and my comp.).
For anybody who is considering going on a mission, I plead with you to do so. I’ve only been here for 3 weeks and have already grown and become closer to God than I imagined was possible. I have realized my complete dependence on Him for all that I am and can be. I know I’m young missionwise as I haven’t even left the MTC but from what I do know I can promise you that your mission will the most fun, difficult, wonderful, improving experience of your life.
Happy Late Birthday Ben!
I’m feeling great this week. I’m loving teaching the lessions and I could use prayers for patience with learning Spanish.
I eat healthy and take my vitamins every morning and most nights.
Spiritually I’m doing great. The Spirit is everywhere here. Physically I’m doing awesome. We have time to exercise everyday and sometimes I go running in the morning with elder Martin (my district leader’s comp.). Emotionally I’m excited but tired as well – it’s hard work every day but it’s fun. Mentally I’m good. I’m always exhausted mentally at the end of the day but sleep, exercise, and listening to the Continuous Atonement by Brad Wilcox is refreshing. We only get to go to the temple twice in the MTC and I’m not likely to go ever in the field which makes me all the more grateful for it.
We got to go to the temple last week and it was amazing! Here are some pics.
You can’t tell but that moth is about as big as Leo’s head
Love you guys so much!
Hey, sorry I didn’t email last Thursday, they said we could email every P-day which is Thursday but we didn’t get our first Thursday off.
I’m having an awesome time here and learning so much Spanish, I think I’ve learned more Spanish here in a week and a half than I did all school year.
The food is actually pretty good and there’s plenty of variety.
My comp. is awesome, his name is Elder Christopherson and he comes from California. He knows Spanish really well but has a speech impediment but I’m so proud of him for coming out here to teach anyways. Our district leader is Elder Davis, he’s great.
General conference was awesome, I especially like Dale G Renlund’s talk in which he made the rocket analogy about the priesthood.
I love you guys and miss you so much but I wouldn’t go home for a billion pesos, I know why I’m out here and am having some of the most fun I’ve ever had.
We get to go to the temple today and I’m super excited. thanks so much for the care packages and I cant wait to hear from and email you next week!
Hey guys, Im pretty much all settled in. This is almost the most fun ive ever had, getting to know the other elders and talking about where we are going after the CCM. Ill send some pictures back on Thursday which is my P-day.
Lots of Love
Most families in Nepal use open fires for cooking and heating, which leads to respiratory disease and burn injuries. For my Eagle Scout project, I’m raising money to pay for vented stoves for the under-priveleged. Each vented stove costs $125. I’m flying to Nepal April 30 to install these stoves with my Dad and brother Sam.
You can help me raise funds by donating (below)!
We wept tears of joy as we drove away from the hospital yesterday. Leo saw his first sunshine and breathed in the fresh air. The sky never looked so blue.
When Abi met him, she waved at him and was sad he wasn’t waving back, then he lifted his hand and waved back. His brothers and sisters stayed home from school and soaked him in.
We’ve never been more grateful to be in our home surrounded by our beautiful family.
We met as a family 10 days ago where we prayed to know when God wanted Leo to come home, then we made promises to God and made posters as reminders. We thank God for making this miracle happen.
Thank you Sherri for your great coaching. We thank the neonatologists, MDs, nurses for their skilled care. Thank you H. Wallace and Nancy T. and Susan for loving and supporting our family so much during this time. Thank YOU for your prayers – we know Leo is home now because of them.