Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Toe Incident

Well, let me start off by saying that this week has been one of MANY surprises. It seems like the Lord always wants to keep me on my toes. Well, I don’t know where to start first, but I guess I’ll start with the toe incident.The other week I noticed that my toenail was looking a little bad. It came to my attention, and to the attention of my companion that it was a slight ingrown toe nail. I called the Hermana Da Silva, she told me to call the mission doctor. He told me not to worry, but to go and see the doctor as soon as possible. He was busy, so we had to set up an appointment another day. We came back. He looked at it, and told me that it looked pretty bad and that if it didn’t improve soon, they were going to cut off half my toenail for good and that if this were so, I would have to stay off work for three months. But he wasn’t sure, so he referred me to a foot doctor. Needless to say, I was pretty frustrated and freaking out a little. However, we talked with the Hermana and she was surprised to hear what the doctor had told us. She said her son had the same problem and it was taken care of without much trouble. I tried the remedy the doctor gave me, and the next day, Hermana Da Silva called us and told us that a missionary the other day who had the same problem just went to a local hospital and had a slight operation in which they cut the nail slightly so it could heal. Sorry for all the details... I went ANOTHER day to a hospital, they looked at it, said not to worry, sent me to a surgeon, in another hospital. I was in the emergency room, with an ingrown toenail. It was kind of awkward. As I laid there on the table, I could hear all the other people who had more serious problems. And there I was, with just a little toe nail problem! Oh well, anyways... the doctor came back, LOADED my toe with anesthetic, cut the nail just a tiny bit (he said it was practically nothing) and sewed up the other muck... well... yeah, I guess I’ll just have to tell you the details another time, but DON¨T WORRY. It was nothing, kind of humorous, and now it’s healing just fine. You almost can’t tell now. So that’s the incident of my finding myself in the ER over an ingrown toenail. Other than that, this week went on as usual, minus the time we lost at the doctors. Oh well, health is important right? But we continue to move on anyway.

We had changes of course today. And this next part is as much of a surprise to you as it is to me. I’m now training in my area, as well as Elder Gonzales in another area. I have a companion fresh from the MTC in Argentina, from California, Elder Delbar. He’s studied Spanish for the majority of his life so he probably already speaks better than me. I’m not going to lie, I’m kind of scared and unsure of what’s going to happen, but I kind of knew that something new was coming. Never a dull moment in the mission.... I look forward to learning a lot this change, but more than that, helping my new companion start to find "That Something". I REALLY need to read that story again.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Sweet Baptism

Well, this week was another one of those where we were tested pretty hard. It was kind of hard to get people to talk to us, and it was, as all of you know who have served missions, frustrating. But, despite our frustrations and discouragement, we took heart in the fact that Raquel was going to be baptized. She is such a sweet woman. She has already read the new Liahona (Ensign Magazine) 3 times! She has learned so much the past few weeks and keeps hungering for more. Her baptism was so sweet. My companion had the honors of baptizing her, and I had the opportunity to do the confirmation. It was really special. She has been such a great example for her family, and I know she will go to the temple one day. I can’t wait to hear all about it! Well, despite the daily trials, the week was still good! We really have found lots of people who are interested, even though it may be hard to get in touch with them at times. The ward is getting more excited too. They have been helping us out more and are starting to volunteer to go out teaching with us. I love this ward! I feel so well taken care of here.

Changes are next week. I hope I stay here, but who knows. I could be off to who knows where. But I at least know that wherever it is, it’s where I’ll be needed. I’m going to miss my companion. He reminds me of Tyler. We have the same sense of humor. Seriously. Sometimes I think we might have too much fun. He has such a pure and kind heart and a strong testimony. But, he’s really bad at Uno. I almost always win...

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Present

It’s hard to believe that today I complete 7 months in the mission. Time really has been flying by. I really have been taking to heart what Pres. Monson has said. Learn from the past, live in the present, and prepare for the future. I feel like as I look back on these first few experiences I have had on my mission, I take heart that I have learned so much about myself and others and about my Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. I look forward to learning even more!

I love the quote from that wise old turtle from Kung Fu Panda. ¨The past is history. The future is uncertain. But the present is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.¨

Well, things have been going pretty good here in our ward in Montevideo. Barrio Libia is doing very well, and the members continue to love and support us. We have a baptism this weekend. The first of what we hope will be three in this wonderful family. Her name is Raquel, and she was so ready and prepared to hear the gospel. Seriously, all she had to do was see us pass by. She is such a sweet woman and I’m so happy for her and hope that the rest of her family will continue to follow her wonderful example. The members are getting all excited. It’s going to be such a sweet and wonderful baptism.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Happy Birthday and A Happy New Year

Well, it was kind of a slow week here in Montevideo. The New Years Eve Fireworks display was even bigger than Christmas. Seriously I was scared that one was going to ignite our house or tree on fire! It was CRAZY! It’s like being in a war zone.The people here REALLY like to party for New Years and needless to say, the day afterwards was pretty much DEAD. There was no one in the streets. Everyone was at the beaches, or too hungover from the night before to answer the door. It was kind of tough, but oh well. Gotta work right? It was ok anyways. Although I still get frustrated from time to time, I feel like my patience has improved a whole lot out here.

My Birthday was...well... very special... and different. Though I of course missed seeing you all (one of the blessings of having my birthday right after Christmas) it was a very special day. I sure do miss you all, and it gets tough from time to time, but I just have to remember why I’m here and these feelings leave. Luckily I have friends here who have begun to be my family. We had lunch with a family called Echeveria. They cooked us gnochis and this stuffed meat that was so good. My companion told them it was my birthday and they went out later and brought us cake. The members here are so sweet and kind and have such great testimonies even though the Church is relatively new here. Almost all the members are converts to the Church, even if they’ve been in the Church for most of their lives. They sang happy birthday to me in of course, Spanish, English, Italian, and Vasco (an archaic language that almost doesn’t exist anymore). It was a great day. So know that even though I wasn’t home for my birthday, I still felt close to you all, and the wonderful brothers and sisters of this area are taking good care of us.

I finally get to go to the Temple this week! I’m so excited! I haven’t been since I was in the MTC. It will be wonderful to go in. I’ve had many questions and thoughts on my mind lately. I really need a little bit of time sometimes to just sit and ponder. I know I can’t be perfect. I can just do the best I can. I love all the lessons I’ve learned out here. I hope I can remember them all!

Everyone remember to keep looking for those opportunities to share the gospel. It really is the best gift we can give to someone.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Wow, What an amazing Christmas!

Wow, What an amazing Christmas. This has been one of the most memorable Christmas’s I have ever had, or I think I will ever have. I felt so close to the Savior and why we celebrate the birth of Christ with so much enthusiasm. They LOVE the partying part here in Uruguay. We went tracting on Christmas Night, and people were OUT. It was pretty funny. We at least got to sing some Christmas Carols.

Well, I guess I’ll start off with Christmas Eve, or Noche Bueno. It was such an AWESOME day! I’ll admit it, I was a little discouraged if people were actually going to let us in or talk to them, but we decided to just go out and share the message of Christmas. We sang carols, shared scriptures of the first Christmas with investigators, less actives, and people we met. When we got back to our house after dinner with Bishop Profetti, the fireworks started. People LOVE to shoot off fireworks here. It was CRAZY! SO MUCH LIGHT! It was like and air raid or something. I grabbed my chair and me and my companion watched from our patio and a couple of our neighbors came by to wish us a Merry Christmas. It was so amazing. I felt so good having brought the spirit of Christmas to a few of my brothers and sisters. It’s amazing how the spirit of Christmas, even though the other parts are enjoyable and add to the fun of it all, really brings smiles and joy into the lives of others. And I felt the joy as well.

Christmas day was pretty much just opening up the AWESOME package you sent me, listening to Christmas Music, trying on the Snuggie, it fits perfectly by the way. One size fits all you know... reading my new Spanish bible and also enjoying all the love that was packaged up inside. Thank you so much everyone. I feel so loved and blessed. Sometimes too blessed. Don’t worry; I’m sharing all the treats with my companion. He loves his new tie by the way and says gracias. I got the blue one and he got the purple one. We LOVE them.

Well, I’m almost 20 years old. I don’t feel like it. I still sometimes feel like I’m a teenager and then I realize what I’m doing and who I’ve become. The Lord has really shaped me during these experiences I’ve had here. I’ve had to have a lot of patience with myself and the Lord. I feel like I’m starting to understand at least a little bit more and more how he works and how he expects us to grow and develop. He loves us so very much. When ever we find someone who for the life of them will not even let us shake their hand, I feel sad that they are rejecting this offering to understand this love a little bit more too. However, I can’t let myself get discouraged. There are other people out there who are ready, and some we’ve already found!

We saw a Christmas miracle this week, well post Christmas miracle. We have been teaching this remarkable woman. She is so receptive, and read what we left her over and over again. Her husband has started to listen and already wants to be baptized. I know that the Lord prepares people. We just have to be ready to listen and not give up. I’m so happy for them, and hope they will get sealed in the temple some day.