30 March 2015

Burglarized...Real Experiences

29 MAR 2015

A few thoughts from Dad...

Having a son on a mission half way around the globe is an interesting experience.  It requires a healthy dose of faith on behalf of the parents.  We are incredibly proud of Darren's decision to serve others and fully supportive of the work he is doing to bring souls to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Brandee and I have sufficient faith that Darren is doing the right thing, that his mission experience will help him grow as a young man and that he will benefit personally through his service.  It does not however mean that we don't worry about him every day.

Today, we got some unsettling news that his pension (apartment) was burglarized.  He lost most of his belongings.  The hard part is trying to help him with this situation while he is 6,000 miles away from home.  The natural impulse as a parent is to step in and rescue him.  As I have thought about his situation, I realized that it is precisely these type of experiences that cause the growth.  He will have to work through this challenge without us being there to guide him.  

True to his personality, Darren seems to be taking it in stride. I am amazed at his positive attitude and great outlook on life.  Next time you see a Mormon Missionary, be nice to them.  They are far from home and likely have parents somewhere worrying about how their son/daughter is doing. - Dave

Hey Dad,

I hope you get this pretty quick so maybe I can tell you more about it, but our pension was robbed. They took our cameras, wallets, my i-pod, speaker, and a bunch of our clothes (our underwear, my church pants and they took my two luggage bags with ALL of my winter clothes) they even stole my toiletries :P weird. I have shirts and my suits and ties. The members are already helping us out with clothes and all kinds of stuff so don't worry I am fine. I'm not hurt or anything, it was when we were at a zone meeting.

What I need to tell you is that in my wallet were my cards, driver's license and passport copy so we need to cancel my card, the sooner the better. I don't know if I am transferring this week so I don't know how soon I will need new stuff but just focus on the card first and we will figure out the rest later. I'm not going to tell mom many details haha but just know that I am safe and that the members here take good care of the missionaries, and the mission office too! So I love you and I'm safe don't worry, I just might not be able to send pictures for a while haha. Talk to you tomorrow if not sooner.

Hi Mom,

Hey mom I'm doing good, I get to email you guys today because our pension got robbed and I need you guys to cancel the card. But I'm safe and I have my head up, you know me, I'm always smiling haha. I told Dad about some of the stuff they took and I don't know if I'll be able to talk more until tomorrow so just know that I'm safe and healthy and ALL the members are being super helpful! It literally could not have happened in a better place. I love you mom and I'll talk to you tomorrow. Tell everyone I'm good and say WAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSSUUUUUUUUUUUUUUPPPPPPP haha I love you, talk to you later.

29 March 2015

23 MAR 2015...The Work Progresses

23 MAR 2015

Hey Mom!

Well I have a lot to tell you this week, since last week there have been some good and bad moments.. so i'll just start with Tuesday. So Elder McCutcheon got sick this week and we were in the pension casi ALL day. It got to the point where I was so bored that I started to mop the floor! haha But at 8 that night we headed off to see Brandon... and afterward we decided that he wasn't progressing. We stop by every now and then but we stopped teaching him :/ One day he'll be ready, just not now unfortunately. Wednesday we went to the hospital pharmacy in the morning and we didn't do much else except talk to a menos activo and her non-member husband. They attended sacrament meeting a couple times already though so things are lookig good with them. We finished the day with our "obra misional" correlation. We fixed some stuff then changed our skit for the next "Noche de Talento" it turned out to be a better skit haha.

The next day we stayed in all morning because my companion was still sick but we were in the capilla most of the day. We had our district meeting then the obra misional met to practice our skit. (we re-enacted the story with Nephi retrieving the plates, but in a funny way) A little afterward we had our first real English class and we taught a few of the members (and Agustina y her sister) how to pray in English. It was actually really good, we officially announced it in sacrament this week so hopefully it will be more successful later on. We ended up finishing the night as we always do, PING PONG haha. Me and Villanueva were on a team. Friday we didn't do much either but the talent show. There weren't as many people or acts this time but the members liked it. All of us forgot our cameras though so we don't have pictures. I was Lemuel so I didn't have to say much but we did pretty good for last minute.

Saturday was great though! We started the day with Claudia (the "mom" of the family of 11) and we had a SUPER good lesson she was crying and telling us how much she wanted to change and be better and it was awesome. Then at lunch we were at the Flia Sanhuesa and they had a bunch of family over and we ate a TON. We had asado (carne asada) and chorizo, and empenadas and pizza and cake. I was just loving it haha. Their house was full of family and it was super fun. By the time we left we had time to go change and meet the other Elders for service at a member's house until the end of the day. She made us some more food with a hot sauce, which apparently was super hot but it wasn't bad (ever since I ate that habanero pepper I have a high tolerance haha). Elder McCutcheon said that Elder Villanueva and I have our own language and its kind of true haha, Villanueva said, "Its because I didn't know English and he didn't know Spanish so we had to haha. Then finally Sunday, none of the investigatores came to church.. but it went well. We ended up visiting Juan and we were talking forever haha but that's about all of this week, it went by SO fast! I don't know how that works. Anyway, I hope you guys are all doing well and I love you and i'll write you soon!

Hey Dad,

I pretty much exhausted my letter to mom this week, but there really isn't much to tell about the area. Most of the roads are dirt and about half of our area is in the ghetto. As far as my feelings... I'm feeling tired but good I feel like every time you feel low on your mission there is something that happens, Whether in your studies or with an investigadore that just gives you the drive to finish the week. That's how it all works. I've learned more specifically that God will only help US do the work. Granted that can be easier at some points than at others but the idea is the same.

I told mom a lot about how my companion is sick and that is the worst... you can't leave or go buy food (which we have none) and you just have to wait. but that's when you are able to do more study and learn more about the scriptures and yourself and there is always something new to learn. By the way, you guys should pay close attention to this conference...I have had this feeling that something about it will be special, I don't know. Anyway, we hope to baptize both Ester and Agustina so if you guys could pray for them it would help a lot, I only have so much faith unfortunately :P but it is these experiences that make them grow right? So that's about the thoughts I've had this week, Oh and I also finished the Book of Mormon on Wednesday... That is a good way to have better views on everything... Well I love you dad and tell everyone I've watched "Were brothers forever" for them haha!


20 March 2015

The Work is Good!

16 MAR 2015

Hey Dad!

I can’t believe I’m already half way through my second transfer!  Thinking back on this week I feel like I wrote you guys only a couple of days ago…which I’m assuming is a good sign haha.  Last week on PDay after writing you guys, I got pretty sick.  It wasn't anything serious, it just wasn't fun :p  Anyway, as far as the work is going we had our correlación with President Lovell this week and they changed the schedule some.  Now in the morning after about 10:30 to lunch is purely for contacting!  So we’ve been walking a lot and finding a lot too! We found this family in the “Cuenta 15” (the barrio we didn’t enter before) and at first when we were walking up, you could tell they were thinking “Oh Bueno, Mormones…”  haha but after talking to them for about 20 minutes we ended up giving them a Book of Mormon and set a cita with them.  The Dad is Omar and the mom is Claudia, but I don’t think they are married.  They have 9 kids though!  When we had our first lesson with them we watched “Gracias a El” (Because of Him) and it was really good!  They both started reading the Book of Mormon with their family!  We have high hopes for them.

My mind has been kind of scattered because we have a lot of possibilities now.  We started teaching Ester again.  I committed her to prepare to be baptized and she agreed!  So we are going to try to work with her a lot again.  Another rule the President changed was that we don’t need investigators to attend church 3 times in a row, if the spirit says they are ready after attending once, then we go through with it!  We definitely have some good hopes for this area, the only problem is I might be leaving to a new area this transfer.  Three weeks is not a lot of time but we need to work and do what we can.  I just want to baptize someone haha.  Right now Agustina is closest I think but she still hasn’t attended church.  We went to her house yesterday morning to pick her up but she didn’t wake up… :/ but her cousin came with us that morning (he’s less active).  Ester and her husband and one of their children came too…so the work is good!

I did get presents for my birthday too.  Juan Claure bought me a wallet and Agustina bought me a shirt!  That was a nice surprise haha.  Anyway, I hope things are all good.  All of you guys are busy now with stuff, just remember to do the little things and everything will be good.  I love you guys and I wish the best for you all!  Talk to you later!

Birthday gifts from the locals...

Hey Mom!

So I told Dad most of the stories this week so I’ll just write you about how I’m doing.  I have been feeling a lot better this week.  About a week or two ago I decided to start rereading the Book of Mormon, I am currently in Helaman 6 which is a pretty good read for me haha, you know how I am with reading. :P  Anyway, reading has helped me push to work harder especially after reading the missionary stories of Alma, the sons of Mosiah, all those.  So yeah, we’ve been doing great.  I feel like I’m just as busy as all of you guys haha.  I also got a couple of presents for my birthday which was unexpected haha. 

I hope you guys are all doing good, I really don’t know what else to write about.  Oh, I got the birthday card you sent last week and I put that picture of Dad and Gunter on the wall haha.  Well I love you Mom, I hope you guys aren’t feeling too stressed or busy.  Just put church first and everything works out J.  I’ll write you soon Mom.

05 March 2015

A Birthday and Singed Eyebrows

02 MARCH 2015

Hey Mom!

This week is going to be a great week for the blog haha. So this was the first week with my new companion (Elder McCutchen), and we have been doing A LOT of contacting. He has been out only 8 and a hallf months but i learned that we both had Hermano Castro as a teacher in the MTC and President Doman as his branch president! Crazy right haha.

Anyway, we havent had too much success this week, we've been trying to find more investigadores but our citas (appointments) keep falling through, but what helped is I have just been thinking "its happening for a reason" Maybe someone else will be home at a sooner time or maybe we were kept safe, but nevertheless its helped. We're also hitting a stand still a little with Brandon.. he's reading what we give him but he's not praying, so with him its a little slower. Agustina is going good though. The other day we were talking to her and I guess her abuela died recently so its helped her have the desire to learn more and she's starting to attend activities with the help of Patricia (shes in her late 20's or so) shes a menos activo and its making her attend more! Win win situation! Other than that the work has slowed here in San lorenzo.. but... i have a few stories haha.

So, our apartment earlier this week had no hot water, so I went to the water heater and tried to relight the pilot light... the first try was a little unsuccessful.  I was careful but the instructions were in Spanish and I don't exactly have those words in my vocabulary... lol so the first time I ended up lighting the gas and it whooshed at my face.... I'm not hurt but I singed my eyelashes a little, my eyebrows a little, and a little of the edge of my hair. You can't tell at all though haha. My eyelashes are a little rough on the edges now haha. Plus... the second try I fixed it, and took a victory shower of hot water haha. And that was only Wednesday! On Friday we had Noche de hogar and I met a couple of the brand new, straight from the mtc Elders now in our zone and guess who one of them is..... TREVOR from RODIZIOS hahaha (Darren met Trevor by chance at a restaurant in Utah in November) how crazy is that! We met once, a week before I reported and now we are in the same zone! The best part is they can hardly speak Spanish and I got to comfort THEM about the language!!! Ever since that I've pretty much understood everything people have said in Spanish! 

And now for my Birthday... you don't need to worry about anything, the members here are the best! One of the anouncements in church.. was my B-DAY! haha. For lunch the familia jara gave us pudding and jello and after that the familia Ducardt gave us cupcakes. The flia Sanhuesa made me a birthday cake! It was super good! I have videos but I can't send them, the file is too big but I sent a bunch of pictures! Anyway, things are looking up. I feel really good and its great here. That about sums up my week so just know that I'm taken care of and that I love you and miss you guys! I'll write you soon!

Check out the name tag Grandma, you're in my world now!

19th Birthday - First one in South America

Elder Bramell's new companion from Las Vegas, Elder McCutcheon