16 December 2015

Transferred to Plottier, Goodbye to Roca - 15 DEC 2015

Hey Everyone!

So this week all my stories are just about visiting people because, I am sitting in a ciber in my new area in...Neuquen again :P haha I am in the area of Plottier, America and my new companion is Elder Coyle!! From Lodi, California haha. So I'm pretty pumped!

It was really sad though to say goodbye.  My last day in Roca I gave my testimony in sacrament meeting and it felt so crazy! We ended up visiting 3 families on Sunday, the familia Muñoz, Epullan, y Caram.

We had lunch with the Familia Muñoz and I shared a scripture at the end and was just thanking them for everything. They have a son named, Misaiel who just got the priesthood that day. I was wearing my grey suit with the vest, so at the end I took it off and gave it to him. Then the hermana and abuela were crying and thanking me and the kid gave me a big hug, it was a really good parting.

We then visited the Familia Epullan and we were there for a while. They all drew me picture and were writing me letters. At the end, I said the prayer and the hermana started crying. She told me that I mean a lot to them and that I'm part of their family. In the hermanas letter, she opened up to me about something in her life and thanked me. It was super rough to say goodbye to the girls like Aimé and Luciana.

Then of course I ended at the Familia Carams. We were all laughing and joking. They wrote me and took pictures and it was so nice, all theses people mean a lot to me and they said the same so I'm glad I was there at least for them.

But, I'm really excited to be here, There is a lot waiting for me here I can tell.  I'll send fotos next week.  I love you all, and talk to you later!!

Elder Darren Bramell

12 December 2015

Transfers are Coming - 07 DEC 2015

7 DEC 2015

Hi Everyone!

Umm so really this week has been a bunch of meetings spread throughout the week. This week was stake conference too so we've been in our suits a lot of the week haha, Presidente came also and gave us our interviews and that was interesting!

I'll get back to the interviews because after that I'd say the biggest success we had this week was teaching "R" and "F" again!

We didn't have a lot of time to get in a full lesson but we did manage to show a video and talk a lot about our beliefs and things like that. When we got there "F" actually told us that she got engaged that day and we met her boyfriend too and he listened to the lesson! "R" said one of her dreams is to get married and start a family and we can definitely see the most interest from her. The only down side is that "M" left for somewhere and "F" is headed home for vacations (their finals are this week) But we have high hopes for "R".

So with the interviews it was kind of out of nowhere but it went well! The only thing is I was kind of hoping to stay here a little longer for Christmas but Presidente told me I'm probably headed out :P sooooo so much for that haha I'm still excited though.

Stake conference was also really well! They talked a lot about the story of Peter when the Lord asked him three times "do you love me" which I think is a good topic. It went well and a lot of people showed so it was nice!

Anyway I hope you all have a good week and that you start getting into the Christmas spirit, it's just the best part of the year! I love you guys!

09 November 2015

Salutaciones Pueblo de Manteca Y Afuera - 9 NOV 2015

9 NOV 2015

Hey Guys!!

So to be honest this week wasn't much different from the last, I even got another pair of shoes from someone! haha "L's" Dad, gave me a pair of dress shoes he never really used.
Missionaries are tough on shoes...

So where to begin this week...
Oh well I guess last Tuesday I hit my 11 month mark already... that's pretty weird haha We ended up passing one hermana who is active but we haven't really visited a lot.  We stopped by and they were digging a big hole to drain water out from their house (they live in the tomas so its all dirt with brick and stick houses) but we helped her husband dig the hole another 2 meters deep (still not sure how deep that is but it was like 2 of me deep or something haha) so that was fun! He isn't a member so well see what we can do there..

We also have been visiting hna "C" a lot again and shes been doing better.  We had a noche de hogar (FHE) with them and her grandkid brought her friend who went to church the next day, we are going to try to pass by again this week.

We're still teaching "L" and her family, but its slowing down a little because they are getting pretty busy. We are trying to figure out how we will make them more interested because I feel like her parents, "F" y "V", are more just listening, but we can see their curiosity growing. We have the goal to be exactly obedient this week so it should help, were going to try our best :P

Other news I guess would just be that our ward had the primary program this week in sacrament meeting and the attendance rose to over 100, that was pretty sweet! So was the program haha

Anyway, I'm glad to be here and I love all you guys! I'll see you all soon!

P.S. Here are some pictures of us making french fries with fry sauce haha

Sorry I always send food pics no mas, I'll try to take more entertaining pics this week :P

01 November 2015

Noche de Hogar - 26 OCT 2015

26 OCT 2015

Hey Everyone! I don't have much time to write but I have a lot to say!

So I'll just hit the highlights...

So this Wednesday we went to visit "L" and we ended up getting invited in by her parents! We talked for a while and "L" asked if we could do a Noche de hogar (Family Home Evening) and so we taught Lesson 1 to the whole family! They are so cool and I don't know how much it has affected them but the spirit was there and there was definitely a growing curiosity...

Then this Friday we found a man named Jonathan and he ended up finding us in the street the other day asking us to come over. So we went over that day and he told us that he was an inactive member and that he needed our help to get him back to church. I asked him how he wanted us to help. And he just said, I just want to hear what you have to say Elder. So we had a super spiritual lesson, we gave blessings to him and his daughter, and I dedicated his house, that was pretty sweet haha. He told us that we helped him a lot, more than he realized. So it was awesome.... The only problem is that he is in the other ward haha. But still it was great.

Those were the two miracles that happened this week, the rest has just been day to day working in the vineyard. Oh yeah! I forgot to mention that before we visited "L" and her family we were with another inactive member who was a little bit drunk I think. But we had a good lesson and we gave him a Book of Mormon. When I told him that it was free I thought he went to give me a hug.... But gave me a wet kiss on the cheek haha! That was interesting!

Fun...I wish I had more time, but it happens. Just know that there a some miracles happening and lives are changing. Thanks for all your support I love you all!! Talk to you all later!!!
East Bay Punk music representing in South America

Giving Elder Bush a haircut

Argentinian Cross-fit?

Elder Bush with proper form

A Positive Week and A Service Project - 12 OCT 2015

12 OCT 2015

Hey everyone!

Sorry for writting so late today! We did service laying down some cement then went to lunch with the zone before I finally got the chance to write but I'm here now!

This week has been really great, I think the highlights were this weekend...

So this last Friday we had our meeting with Presidente in Villa Regina (normally we do that here but he wanted to mix things up I guess haha) so we left in the morning on the bus and headed there most of the day! It Was super awesome! Presidente is super inspired! He talked a lot about working with members and as a mission we have been sharing the first vision with a lot of the members in quick little visits and it is helping a lot! We are seeing a lot more unity in the ward! There were definitely some things Presidente talked about that were meant for me...so that was great!

Then the next day, the other Elders had a baptism... and of course our investigators had to go, so we ended up taking "L" with us and she liked it a lot! We ended up meeting her Dad too and we got to talking a bit afterward. He invited us to come over one weekend to eat an asado (which they don't do ALL the time haha) Elder Bush and I are really excited to start talking with their whole family! It will help a lot with them and we've just been thinking that they will be sealed! I would just die of joy haha, it can definitely happen! The next day we were even able to take her to church and she liked all of it! It was a super successful weekend. PLUS Hno Caram dropped some cane on the men for not doing home teaching and it has helped a lot!

Presidente Casariego talked a lot about changing the wards where we are and I can definitely see that now...

I am super pumped and even though we haven't convinced L's parents completely yet, I've been praying a lot that she will be able to convince them this transfer.. I'm following the confirmation I got in that family home evening... And also Presidente's advice that if we want to have miracles we need to trust in God and do ALL of our part (which means obedience with exactness).

I wish I could write more but I'm technically past P-day already haha, but I love you all a ton and I wish you all the BEST week! Talk to you soon!

03 October 2015

Transfers and a New Companion - 28 SEP 2015

28 SEP 2015

Hey Guys!

So this week has been pretty crazy! We had the Meet the Mormons activity but all of the new greenies were missing, they got here Thursday. Three of us are training, so we were in trios until then. On Thursday we had to wake up at 4:30, we got there 2 hours later and then waited until 10 to go to the mission home, but it was fun! We contacted for a while with the newbies then we had a meeting and lunch and we got our new companions. My new hijo (as they say in the mission for a new missionary you are training for his first assignment) is named...Elder Bush from Pleasant Grove Utah! Grandpa actually mentioned him once telling me to keep an eye out for him! What a coincidence right?

So these past few days we've been visiting members and investigadores and its been sweet! I now realize how much I really have learned since the MTC haha, but my comp is a capo still! haha

As far as investigators go, we found "L's" house! He is the one who is "A's" friend, and she is reading the Book of Mormon!  We had lesson 2 with her ayer and we are going to invite her to be baptized today! We also visited "W"after and he was feeling sick so my comp and I gave him a blessing and I am sure he is getting baptized!

Anyway, as far as this week I am super excited, we are going to have a lot of success and my new comp is a stud, he just doesn't know it yet, haha, I love you guys, I hope you have a great week!
Elder Bramell and his new companion...Elder Bush

Introducing Elder Bush to the cuisine...chorizo

21 SEP 2015

Hey guys!

The truth is, we didn't do too much this week other than visit people and prepare stuff for the activities we have, plus transfers are today, and my companion Elder Lopez went to Cipoleti this morning :/ But it was a good week still!
At the talent show we ended up doing a skit and a dance and it turned out great! A bunch of people came and a lot of them who we've started to teach really opened up to us! Not too many from our ward went but it was so cool! Afterwards, everyone was telling me they were surprised by my moves haha, fun stuff! Oh and one of the members sang the song Zombie by the Cranberries and I TOTALLY thought of you two Mom and Dad because you would always sing it, haha.

So I don't have much else to talk about but transfers... my new companion will be a brand new missionary! I'm going to be training someone this transfer! (Or in missionary lingo, I'm going to have a son haha) I'm not sure what to expect.. Until Thursday I'll be here with another Elder that is training and when we get back we are going to go to our areas. Its so weird though! It would be like if Curtis came to be my comp! I'll have to let you guys know all about it next week because I don't know who it will be until then!

So sorry this letter is a little short this week, we barely had time to write today, Ill make up for it next week, I promise! I love you guys and I hope you have a great week!

Fellow Missionaries at the Talent Show

Early morning transfers
Excited to find some candy from America!

01 October 2015

A Note to the Primary Kids Back Home

7 SEP 2015

The kids from the Primary Program in the Union Ward, Manteca, California Stake wrote letters and drew pictures for Darren, this was his response:

Hey Primary Kids!

Its me Elder Bramell! I just wanted to thank you all for the wonderful pictures!
I hope you guys are having a good time learning about missionary work! Its a lot of
hard work, but its what Heavenly Father needs us to do! Keep up your prayers because it helps me a ton!

Whenever I have a hard day I look at your drawings and I know you guys are praying hard for me!
Keep it up! I know the church is true and that everyone of us is a child of our father in heaven, he loves each and every one of you! Thanks again for the pictures!

Old Friends and New Investigators - 7 SEP 2015

7 SEP 2015

Hey Everyone!

This has been a really great week!

Basically, it started with this past Wednesday, when we had the meeting in Neuquen with Elder Teixeira of the 70! He did a super awesome job and I was feeling motivated, he said a few things that I know I needed to hear. We also ran into a bunch of people I knew! I finally talked to Hna Jones from my district! haha. Its super crazy because her and Hermana Webb are now officially COUNTING DOWN their mission haha. That's still crazy to me! I also ran into Elder McCutcheon! We were talking for a while and guess who showed up... Cintia and Silvina Vilche from San Lorenzo! It was Sweet! Cintia is supposed to report to the MTC THIS Wednesday! She's going to Columbia on her mission! The funny thing is that I will only be home 2 transfer before she goes home haha. That was super fun though and we definitely learned a lot! 

After we got back, we arrive just in time for futbol in the capilla and the guy we met, "F", was there. This past Saturday we taught him lesson 1 and he already believes it all! He told us "You know, I always thought that there should be more than just the Old and New Testament. (LDS consider both the Bible and Book of Mormon to be scripture) God wouldn't change suddenly" and he said the same thing about prophets! He just wants to start reading the Book of Mormon so we are pumped!

This Thursday, turned out SUPER good! (coincidentally on my 9 months haha) we ended up finding 7 more people to teach, and by that I mean really teach! Not just some people that might be investigators! Some were references, and some we found but we have a lot to do now :D

Friday we went to the Chinese food restaurant because our wards went to the temple and no one had lunch. It was a little trucho haha but it was nice to not have to cook something, and it was a buffet! I did end up eating that prawn though haha it was only meh, but it was all pretty decent, plus we got a few more references out of it (from people who worked there).

Saturday was when we visited "F" and a little later we played basketball with a few future investigators, including "F", the cook from the Chinese restaurant and his friend! It was fun to play a sport OTHER than futbol and I was getting on a roll! I had a few 3 pointers going haha. Anyway we ended up visiting "X" that night and he was SOOOOO much better! He is a lot calmer he isn't mad anymore, he stopped smoking and has been reading the Book of Mormon! He moved some of his stuff into the pension too so he is feeling a lot better. He also might have a job soon. He told us that he is just accepting God's will now..FINALLY :P  He wants to make lunch for us and future missionaries to repay how much we've helped him... he really has changed his life for the better.

Well that's about it this week, I'm feeling a lot happier now. Thanks for always writing and I hope you have a great week and an awesome time in the temple! I love you all, talk to you soon!
Now THAT is a prawn!

Hermana Webb, Hermana Jones & Elder Bramell

Elder Bramell, Elder McCutcheon & Elder Coyle

Reunited with friends from his first area in Neuquen

Elder Sanchez and Elder Bramell

30 September 2015

Still Working - 31 AUG 2015

31 AUG 2015

Hey guys!

This has been another busy week for us!

Mainly what we've been doing is helping "X" out, we got him to talk with the bishop and we are starting to help him get organized.  One thing we did teach him though is the reason his life is hard right now is because he's not being obedient to the covenant he made.  He accepted it really well though and we're working with him to stop`smoking still, he's started to pick it up again so were helping out.

Other than that we visited "Y" a lot this week we we're trying to prepare him for this last Noche Blanca (along with all the other missionaries with their investigators) and the truth is, I was super stressed out, I didn't know how we were going to do it.  On the day off we were trying to fix the drain to the pila and I didn't realize until this weekend that we all really did our part and there were 0 of the 8 baptisms this week. I realized that if the Lord wanted them to be baptized they would have been... so we still have more work to do! We put a new fecha with "X" in 2 weeks, the 12th!

"Z" recently went back to Neuquen again but she told us she still wants to talk to us so we were super excited to hear that! Also the other day we were contacting (the day of the foto i sent with the chicken) and we talked to a guy in his house and before we talked I saw him and thought... "We should invite him to fútbol on Wednesday" so we did and he came and he's super cool! He has to be like 25 or something but we are going to go start teaching his family too!

In other news we just went to a wedding this morning! This week our ward goes to the temple so they are gong to get sealed too! Unfortunately we don't get to go but still its cool! We just will have to cook our lunch this week haha

Well,  I guess the big news from this week would just be that, I already know we will have more baptisms and I'm pumped! Haha I love you all and I'll talk to you soon!

Elder Bramell and a resident chicken

Public Art in General Roca

Fixing a plugged baptismal font with a stick and a dinner fork...hmm

17 August 2015

First Baptism! - 17 AUG 2015

17 AUG 2015

Hey Guys!

Alright so I have had a super better week, the truth is, I don't remember much of what we did day by day, but I'll try my best..

So one important thing that did happen was our last district meeting. In those meetings we always talk about the scriptures, or a talk, then about all of our investigators. So this was the first district meeting of the transfer, and every transfer has a "Noche Blanca" or "White Night" where we try to baptize a bunch of people in one day. So Presidente told us that every companionship can baptize 2 people on the 29th of this month, which would mean, 175 baptisms this month! And we are going to do it!

So our district is a lot smaller now, but we do a call every night and morning to stay animated for the work and its helping a ton, our district planned 15 baptisms but we're not focused on the number, solo bautismos no mas haha.
Darren's District - Most were transferred last week
Then I'll skip some details to make it a bit more dramatic haha, so our lessons with "L" are still going good, we think "M" is still in Neuquen but we are going to stop by today just in case, and "W" is keeping going as well haha.

Then it comes to this Saturday...

We had been busy all week, because we had a very important day planned Saturday....."L" was baptized!!!!!!!!  I don't exactly have pictures, its kind of a long story but guess who was the one to baptize him..? That's right, your very own Elder Bramell haha!

It was definitely unique.  A decent amount of people showed up, (including "W"!) but that made "L" super nervous so the ZLs told everyone he wanted to do it without people watching so everyone just waited in the Cultural Hall. So it was me doing the ordinance and Elder Lopez (who confirmed him the next day) and the ZLs as witnesses.  It was super awesome! He was definitely different coming up out of that really cold water haha. But yeah, that's the great news! 

Yesterday we had an incredibly spiritual Zone conference too about baptizing everyone and I haven't felt the spirit THAT strong in a long time. They had us talk about our experience Saturday and after I finished talking one of the assistants said, "These two have the vision to baptize".  He told us later that Presidente felt good about leaving Elder Lopez here with me for another transfer and I know its because we are going to baptize more people here in Roca. We are going to be the missionaries these people will need.

I've felt so good this week with everything and I know we are going to reach that goal of 175 people.

Thats my report for this week, i hope you guys are still all doing well and i want you to know that I love you all! I'll talk to you next week!

Some Pictures of Darren's living quarters...

This is home -  Darren's "pension" or apartment
Sweet security door

Looking outside of Darren's pension

15 August 2015

A Rough Week with a Silver Lining - 10 AUG 2015

10 AUG 2015

Hey Mom and Dad!

The truth is, this week there isn't good news. This week has been super stressful, but reading Curtis' letter has just made my week better and I just feel super motivated. So I'll explain how things went...

So the last P-day was supposed to be the zone p-day at the Valle de la Luna but all the rides canceled on us so some went to the zoo and others played board games. Tuesday "L" canceled on us so we didn't end up seeing him, AND "M" called us and said she didn't feel good about the last interview because she felt pressured a bit (She didn't understand why we had to do it again with Elder Lyman) and so she said she didn't want to get baptized this week either. Also she is going to Neuquen for a week to spend time with her family. Wednesday we started visiting people to say goodbye because transfers are today, but I wasn't feeling too good all day. Then at like 7:00 I got a super bad fever so a member Leo brought me medicine, and my companion gave me a blessing but I was in bed all day the next day. That morning the other Elders came over to go on splits to visit "L" and he canceled on us again.. so they visited "W" and he was chewing tobacco.... that was Thursday. Friday we didn't do anything important except take out t-shirts for the 2 elders headed home. There was a dinner activity in the ward but they finished cooking at 9:30 so we just stopped by for a few minutes. Saturday it was raining a ton so we were doing stuff in the pension all morning. We did visit a small canyon type place, but it was full of trash. Then Sunday we had church and we visited a few more families for the last day of the transfer. So basically we did not do much all week and that's why we didn't have baptisms.....

I was feeling this way all week and I was just extremely frustrated because I know its my fault too for not being firmer, but I was just trying to finish the transfer. Its nothing to do with my companion, its just that in San Lorenzo we worked hard and nothing much happened, then here we haven't worked as hard when we have really good potential. We aren't trucho (trunky) or anything but there are things we could be doing better. So I prayed saying I know I didn't handle this challenge well but that I was ready for the next one... Then transfers were announced...

Almost all the zone changed, 2 areas closed, Universitario C which is de Elder Loayza y Saldivar, and the other in Cervantes, Elder Lyman's area. (He's going to Bariloche) As far as my changes.. I'm still here in Roca.. and I'm still with Elder Lopez. This will be our 3rd transfer together. It was the answer to me that God was saying, "You haven't passed this trial, go baptize these people that I have led you to, and be the missionary I know you can be." then today I read about Curtis getting his call and I know he will be an awesome missionary, and I want to be that awesome missionary you guys expect me to be. 

This transfer will be different, I can already tell. I forgot my camera today too so I'll send pictures soon. I love you guys and I'll talk to you next week!

Investigators and Potential Baptisms - 3 AUG 2015

3 AUG 2015

Hey Mom!

They are ALREADY done with summer break!!!! How is that even possible? haha you guys just finished school I thought! Wow haha.. anyway, to answer your question definitely lesson one about the restoration because that is the message different from all others (Brandee asked him what his favorite lesson to teach was and why). When we share the first vision the Spirit comes and they can't deny the feelings that come. If this message isn't true then the Book of Mormon isn't true and our church isn't true, but all of it is.

We have been pretty busy this week though.. Tuesday we had our first zone conference with Presidente Casariego (which is an all day thing) and I ended up buying a better jacket that day too. Then the next day were tramites, where we have to go to Neuquen to do passport stuff, but they sent me with Elder Lyman so I was talking with him all day because I went on splits to his area afterward. While Elder Lopez was in our area, they visited an investigator that we talked with a while back and they put a fecha (date) with her for the 15th! Thursday we visited "L" and taught him about the Family Proclamation and law of chastity (he's gotten about everything now) and he will be getting baptized THIS Saturday. He just overthinks everything a lot :P Friday finally came the asignaciones so we had money again and we were FINALLY able to start the mission shirts. We happened to find a new place that could do it, because the place we were going to was never open (even when the sign said it should've been :P). Saturday was interesting.. I'll get back to that. Yesterday we had church and "L" went like normal but only him this week :/ I'm not sure what happened.. that night we had ward counsel (the first since I've been here) and now its P-Day. We planned on doing a fun P-Day activity with the whole zone but everything fell through.. dang it haha.
Elder Sulzen, Elder Curtis, and Elder Bramell
So, on Thursday we also went to visit "M". we did the baptism interview before so she could get a feel for what its like (She is completely ready btw) She knows or at least believes in everything we have taught... but she hasn't told her family she wants to be baptized... so I guess she has family coming this week and is going to tell them then. So in other words, she wasn't baptized this week. Saturday I went with Elder Lyman so he could do the official interview with the mindset that she was getting baptized that day.  Some of us fasted and we said a prayer with a bunch of Elders before leaving but she still wants to wait.

One thing she said though is that she knows that "el camino....es la mormona" so we know she will be baptized, but of course I was feeling disappointed, but at the same time, during the interview I kept getting this feeling that she had to wait so that her family could attend the baptism.. so I let it go and put the goal to be baptized this next Saturday.  She said it was a little fast but I know she can do it.

That has been the theme of this week though so far. Im doing good though, I totally forgot to take the picture though, Ill have to write it down, but I love you Mom. I'm glad to hear everyone is doing good! I'll talk to you soon!

Futbol Folly - 27 JUL 2015

27 JULY 2015

Hey Mom!

We're getting there with everyone, Elder Lyman just had a baptism in his area and "L" ended up going and it made him excited to be baptized! We know he will too. "M" has been feeling pretty sick recently so she couldn't really do much this week, we know she will be baptized too, its just a matter of when her health will allow her to do it. We gave her a blessing already a while back and it helped but we are still praying for that. "W" couldn't go to church (I think for work) but we are still working hard!

This week too there were a TON of kids this week playing futbol! it was super fun and it is going to help out with investigaters! I did end up getting tripped (accidentally) and fell and got a little scrapped up. Everyone thought I died though hahaha. I just ended up landing how I would for a baseball dive and I was good, I've had much worse haha.

I can't really think of many events super unique.. well we did have to eat lunch in the church Saturday with only our hands, so that was fun. We were over there cleaning all morning (Elder Lopez, a member, and I) so it was a little tiring but the baptism went well and like I said, "L" told us, "Voy a bautizarme" so you could say that was a success haha.

To answer a few of your questions, we don't go to the temple on this mission :/ the closest ones are in Chile or Buenos Aires. The members are actually planning a trip in September to the one in Chile. Its helped me to appreciate the temple for sure, because these people practically can't go to the temple and really, we could go whenever we wanted. It just helps to put it into perspective.

I'll take pictures like that if you want too haha a lot of the time I just don't know what kind of things you would want to see, because I don't think of stuff like that but I'm down! I love you Mom and I hope you have a great week! Stay safe! and ill talk to you next week!

Thanks Dad for the scripture, I'm trying to keep positive like always so hopefully we will have some baptism fotos to send this week! Pray for "M" to have better health and that "L" can forget his doubts; they are close but it always helps haha.

28 June 2015

Missionary Moment - 22 JUN 2015

22 JUN 2015

Hey Mom!

My goodness, what is happening to my family back home! haha I can't believe all that news... crazy haha. Don't you guys know that time is supposed to stop while I'm on the mission haha. Anyway this week has been good, We have had a few good lessons but we are still struggling to get them to go to church! (which is kind of important :P) We did have one really cool experience though.

There is one member named Hmna Carrasco and she has been a member for a long time, her son went on a mission and she knows the church is true but she has had a lot of doubts lately. So the other day we went to visit her and she started talking to us about tithing.. She said it wasn't right to "shut the doors of the temple" on the people who can't pay tithing. (She did pay but now doesn't because "she can't afford it") so we were trying to tell her that the reason its that way isn't because they aren't paying the church, but its because they are not obeying a commandment. She was just not getting it and my comp was getting frustrated because she basically wasn't listening and we were talking in circles (her son was also helping us out, but getting frustrated too) and so I just waited for an opening and I said, "Can I share something?" and I opened to 3 Nephi 13:31-33. We read it and she started to cry, I explained that the temple is for the people who keep all of the commandments and we go to church so we can be prepared to go to the temple. She told us that she undersands now and she said that what she felt in that moment washed away all the doubts she had and she wants to start doing everything. She said that we are special people, and she went to church yesterday.

That was the highlight of the week, we are going to keep working with her and Elder Lopez and I both thought that she would be active again when we left her house.

Not all success is in the font.

I love you Mom thanks for keeping me filled in on everything, my brothers are a little slower to tell me stuff haha. Happy late birthday, have a good week! I'll talk to you next week.

Hey Dad!

HAPPY FATHERS DAY! One thing I have noticed while on the mission is what prepares you to be a father. A lot of the lessons you learn while serving (temporal and spiritual) seem to fit in to fatherhood a little too perfectly haha. It is interesting to think about...

I dont know if I will believe it about Curtis going on a mission until he gets his call haha. That is just too weird. You guys are just doing so much stuff now its crazy. Mom has been keeping me posted too haha. It sounds like the Bramell's are as busy as usual haha.

I have my camera but no new investigators, the success of this week has been helping out one less active member, I told mom about it, its kind of a long story but its good. I understand that not all success is in the baptisms, but it helps when you actually have another type of success haha. We are working hard though.

By the end of this transfer I will have 8 1/2 months, its strange how that works haha, The mission is getting a lot smaller though, so it may be a while until I train someone. Like you guys saw, only 3 new missionaries arrived this last transfer and I think its going to be the same this transfer (with more than 20 other missionaries LEAVING). So we will definitely see some change haha. I'm excited for what the future holds though, as always I'm being positive but I'm serious too. haha

I love you Dad, I hope you guys have an awesome time in Trek, I know you'll be awesome parents (because you already are) I'll write you next week!

Fun Times in the Pension and a few Fotos - 7 JUN 2015

7 JUN 2015

Hey Mom!

I'll explain some of the pictures haha. Those pictures with the matress, we were in the OTHER Elder's pension haha OUR pension is A LOT cleaner haha. But at night their pension is cold so we had to wear whatever to stay warm (Their heater doesnt work) haha the one standing up in both pictures is E' De la Serna and the other in PJs is E' Loayza. Thats the kind of stuff we do, we will all four go to an asado or something in the others area and sleep over there or with the french toast (Which i made pretty bomb btw haha) we did the same.

Right now we have... 9 or 10 investigaters. obviously others are progressing a little better than others but I think it will just take a little more time with a few. With interviews I got them mixed up with zone conference which is just the missionaries, the interviews will be tomorrow and Sister Lovell already texted us saying she was going to bring my camera with her, so don't worry :P We always go to one cyber a street down from the church which is 5 minutes away from the pension. I found it on google maps but there isn't a street view, but our pension is across the street from the canal. Our area though is huge.. There is one area we haven't gone into yet because its so far, and we walk EVERYWHERE :P but we are having good success!

That is SUPER weird though haha, I can't believe he is actually done with high school!!!!!!! and I can't believe Jaxson had to go to the ER again hahah poor guy. Sounds like normal back home haha. My week has been about the same I can't really remember much like usual :/ umm... honestly I don't remember doing too much that I haven't already told you guys about..the work has been a little slow this week so its really just been the other stuff.... dang it.. for my & months we bought ice cream and ate it in the pension haha but other than that I've told you everything. Its been kind of a lazy week I guess.. sorry I don't have more.

Well, I love you mom, I hope you guys are all doing well, I'll try to make sure I have a good story for you next week, I love you mom and I hope you have a good week!

Hey Dad!

With your letter I'll explain more detail in the pictures, because other than that stuff this week has been a little slow :P

So the first few pictures with a bunch of Elders is at the pension of a couple of other Elders cooking an asado! After that we went with a member family to a place called "Valle de la Luna" which was super fun! The other gringo is Elder Sulzen from San Diego.

The mess of a dessert was banana cake haha we made that at the other Elders pension to bring to a menos activo family for a birthday and we put a little too much batter haha.

The OTHER desert we made with a member, Fabiana Gutierrez who sent more photos to my facebook! that is called Chocotorta.. so I can make that now.
Chocotorta - Sister Gutierrez, Elder Lopez, y Elder Bramell

After that the pictures with all of our district is at the house of the Familia Caram where we had lunch after church. The Elders ended up being there until about 9:30 haha.

The photos of the 4 of us in the pension was a night where we slept in the other Elder's pension and their heater doesn't work so it gets cold at night, thus the mixed up clothing.

The last ones are just Elder Lopez and I cooking lunch in the pension, he cooked the noodles and I cooked the milanesa (which is basically thin country fried chicken haha)

Hna Lovell is bringing my camera tomorrow so I will be able to send more soon. Thinking back to the week we did a lot of stuff like that which was fun but not as much working as before and thus less success. Don't get me wrong I love this district but sometimes we slack a little. Its made me think more about how I'm ok with slacking every now and then, we ARE human but at the same time I'm not trying to waste my time here doing stuff I could've been doing at home. In the mission some Elders get "trunky" and I completely understand but we came out for a reason and like you said I know where I stand and why I'm here. So that's what I got for the week haha.

I love you dad and I hope everything keeps going good back home! Tell everyone I say hi and to have a good week, i'll talk to you soon!

"I came out to serve" - 25 May 2015

25 May 2015

Hey Dad!

My first week has been really good! We've been busy finding new people and we are very excited about a few particulars. As far as the Spanish, I can understand everything and can talk fine. When I speak its a bit broken but my vocabulary is definitely expanding. Geographically it is definitely a lot nicer here, that canal you saw is across the street from the pension, so if you find the capilla we are literally three minutes away but we work in a part northeast of the church. It is good! There are still a lot of dogs but these ones are more domesticated and don't try to bite you as much haha. I can't believe another year of school has ended, that means I've already been out of high school for a year, with 6 months in the field!.. weird.

Yeah, the dedication was super cool though and one of the members of the bishops family in San Lorenzo, Rosmari Vilche made and embroidered my name and the temple dedication on a handkerchief that I have now. Really cool recuerdo haha.

(I told Darren to keep working hard and stay busy with the work...) That's what I realized too, because a lot of missionaries make themselves miserable thinking of home. Of course I doze back into stuff like that, but I also didn't come out on a mission to feel sorry for myself and what I'm missing out on; I came out to serve. Of course there are bad days and of course there are times you want to go home, but the more you focus on your purpose in the mission instead of your purpose in your daily life, the better off you will feel and the more rewarding your experience will be. So yeah, I'm just going to put "mi hombro a la lid" because I didn't leave such an awesome family just so I could miss them, haha.

Anyway, I love you Dad, tell everyone I love them too. Keep working hard and focus on the important things! I'll write you next week!

Catching Up in Roca - 15 JUN 2015

15 JUN 2015

Hey Dad!

Yeah Stake Conference was this week and the Lovells were there too! It was super good, we had a general authority there from the 70, Elder Salez. He gave really good talks. This week was also the end of the short transfer so I'm staying here with Elder Lopez for one more transfer. I feel like that will be good for a few of the investigators we have, we have good chemistry when we teach and I'm sure we will have some more success this transfer! Its weird to think about, but my comp mentioned that after this transfer we will be getting close to General Conference again!!! I will be working on 9 months too, I don't understand how fast the mission goes.. haha. Its funny though you don't realize exactly what a mission is like until your doing one haha. It sounds like the Hermanas in the ward are great, tell them I say hi haha.

We have been singing in choir too! The choir director Hno Jose Martinez asked us if we could help (Because they dont have any bases) so I've been singing the other end of the spectrum for now haha. We sang yesterday in conference too so I'm sure its going to be that way for a while.

I cant believe that Curtis just needs the interviews (before getting his mission call)... well AND turn 18...but I seriously CAN'T believe it! I remember being at home doing the same thing like it was only a couple months ago... So weird.

I bet you are an awesome Mission leader! Especially if your always so busy studying all that stuff! I'm sure that is just a part of the blessings we will get. Last night we were watching a church movie with a member called "The Mountain of the Lord" and it was AWESOME! It's about the construction of the Salt Lake Temple. They also explain why temples are important and toward the end it showed the rooms inside the temple and the spirit hit me super hard and I just felt grateful for our opportunity we had to get sealed. If you guys can find it, watch it for a Family Home Evening or something because its seriously worth it.  I feel like you guys are getting a lot more spiritual too haha. I'm sure mom would love it.

It is getting colder here but mainly due to the wind nothing more.  It has rained a few times but its nothing unbearable haha. Neither is the work.  We have been struggling to find some of our investigators but I feel like we are still doing good, so hopefully Ican let you know soon.

Well dad, I love you and I hope everyone is doing good! I'll talk to you soon!

Hey Mom!

I've actually been on the computer for an hour already but I have been figuring out my pendrive, (it is somewhat messed up) but I'm doing good. Um as far as our newest investigators, we have two that we think are our best hopes right now. The first is an older lady named Mari. We started contacting in the morning and the third house we knocked at was hers. We ended up being late for lunch that day haha. She believes in Christ and everything and is really open to our lessons. We taught her some about the Plan of Salvation and left her a Libro de Mormon. She has started reading it and wants to go to church this week! She was even talking about tea with us and she told us she wasn't sure which you should or shouldn't drink haha so she is really prepared. The other investigator is named Lucio. He is actually the brother of Soledad (an older investigator). We ended up talking forever to him too and when he was telling us what he believed, it was all the plan of salvation haha The only thing he was missing were the degrees of glory! He is also excited to attend church this week and the next lesson will be on the restauracion, so we are feeling good! Hopefully I can tell you all about them next week when they attend haha. Oh and Stake conference was good too, we had Elder Salez from the 70 come and talk both days and it was super good!

For your name (Brandee is working on ideas for Trek) I like "Forward in Faith" and to be creative with it the Fs could be pioneers pushing the cart and the rest of the letters would be in the cart! Like the 2 lines going sideways would be their arms for instance, just an idea haha. One thing you really learn to appreciate on the mission a lot more is the pioneers. (Mostly because the majority of the movies we can watch in the mission are about them :P) This Trek will be something you guys will always remember because really all the stuff they went through and the faith they had is really incredible. I for sure am greatfull for them now, I'm not sure I could endure all that..

Anyway I almost forgot transfers are today! I'm still with Elder Lopez but Elder Lyman is going to train a newbie! Plus Elder Alonzo from my first transfer is the next Assistant to the President! That was super crazy to hear haha, it makes me wonder whats in store for me here in the mission.. anyway, Elder De la Serna went to Neuquen yesterday with all of the missionaries going home. They leave for home Wednesday.  I'm not sure if that is when The Lovells are going to leave but it will be soon. This new transfer will be 2 months long now.  So ya! Im sure this transfer we will have success.

I'm super glad to hear all your stories from back home, I could totally imagine that story with the cousins hahaha. I love you mom and I'll keep you updated! Talk to you soon!

31 May 2015

A New Area and a New Companion - General Roca

General Roca
19 MAY 2015

Hey Mom!
Sorry we didn't have time to write yesterday, because of transfers.......................................because I am now in "Enivirsitario A" in Roca! (where elder McCutcheon started) It was rough saying goodbye to everyone.. especially the flia Vilche, (bishops family). We visited them twice on Sunday haha. Anyway, its a little weird to start getting to know people in the zone and barrio but elder Lyman and a couple other Elders I know are here too so I'm not completely lost, haha. My new companion is Elder Lopez from Peru. He's pretty chill I guess haha, I just really met the guy but I'm sure we won't have any problems. I just found out today that we finish the mission the same transfer next year, kind of crazy but he's got only one more transfer than me, which makes me think that maybe I'll be the comp mayor pretty soon... weird. Our district is all Latino except for one of the hermana leaders, from New Mexico (from McCutcheon´s group) so its back to never speaking English, but this time I understand about everything so don't worry TOO much about that.

The temple Dedication was really cool though, Elder Christoferson was speaking Spanish for all of it which was cool and President Uchtdorf was the one who dedicated it, (in English with someone translating it) but it was cool! I had never been to one so I had no idea what to expect. There is one part when you need a handkerchief as part of the dedication and Mari Vilche (One of the older daughters) made and embroidered some for us! There were talks too and Pres. Uchtdorf talked about what it means to "walk before God with all of [your] heart" ( I forgot the scripture reference) but he said that having a current temple recommend is how we show our love to God. He went on to say that everyone needs to have one, even if a temple isn't close by because that is how you express the love of all of your heart. SUPER cool haha. It is definitely something that could help members have stronger testimonies and a firmer conviction to the Lord.

Well, that's about all I have to say about this week because really the dedication was all we did until now. I'm sure I'll have more stuff for you next P-Day, this transfer is only 4 weeks and a lot are leaving after it, including President Lovell. So, we'll see what happens, but I love you mom and thanks for the pictures! Ill talk to you soon!

Hey Dad!

I'm doing pretty good this week but the problem is that I don't have much to talk about because I am now..........................in Roca!! The ward is named Enivirsitario and once again I am surrounded by Spanish speakers, but NOW I can understand what they are saying to me! haha It seems like a cool zone. We play fútbol a lot here I guess. Plus I know a few gringos in the zone and one of them is Elder Lyman! That was kind of cool! I told mom too about the temple dedication and it was really interesting and super cool! I taped the ticket for the dedication into my journal so it will always be a cool recuerdo! The temple dedication was my last day in San Lorenzo so I went around saying goodbye to everyone, well I said "Chou" but you knew what I meant haha. It was super sad but good at the same time, because I know I'll see them all sometime while I'm still here. Anyway, my new comp now is Elder Lopez from Peru. Hes a good guy but he only has one more transfer than me (2 in the field because of the MTC for me) But I'm excited to start anew. I have also been told that this is one of the best wards in the mission! Some call Roca the "Promised Land" haha so I am ready to work. It's a weird feeling too at the same time, not REALLY knowing anyone, who are now the only people you know, but I guess that's just life. I wish I had more to tell about investigators and stuff but the thing is I wont know what happens until I see some of their names on the weekly baptism lists. I'm sure I'll have stuff to say soon and I know too my efforts haven't been and won't be for nothing. Well I love you Dad and I hope things keep going good back home, after all you have a son out in the mission field haha. I'll talk to you soon!

Darren lives about "three minutes" from this canal
Public Art