Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hello family I hope you are all doing very well. Sounds like you all had a very busy week at home. This week was crazy! We are working super hard and there is never enough time to complete all of the work that we need to. I am writing in Arica right now. This morning at 1:00 am we got on a bus and now I am in Arica! This morning we had to take care of stuff for our visa. We got here at 6:30 and waited in this line and finished up about 4 hours later. We head back down to Iquique around 5 this afternoon. Here´s a run through of our week. 

Monday night we spent talking with the bishop. We talked a lot about the plans for this ward and how we can strengthen it to be stronger for the baptisms that we are bringing in. We talked a bit about what we needed to do and how we need follow up. We have a great mission plan that our ward has structured but no one follows through. So I talked to the bishop about how we need to have some sort of follow up system that can help the people create habits to be better leaders. 

Tuesday was chile´s national independence day. I thought that everyone would be outside celebrating with their families but they were actually inside watching movies and things with their family.

Wednesday was some sort of military holiday and our ward had a big celebration. There was some music and lots of food that we ate. I ate way too much food. We spent time talking with ward members and with our investigators. 

Thursday the Assistants came in from Antofogasta. In our mission there are 6 assistants to the president. 2 of them travel throughout the whole mission and go on exchanges with the other missionaries, 2 are the office elders and 2 are hermanas. But the travelling assistants came to our sector to work with us for a day. I had Elder Kennedy with me and we worked together for the rest of Thursday.

We went to teach Mary and leninka later that night and while Elder Kennedy was with me we thought it would me much more effective if he could interview Mary for her baptismal interview. While he was doing the interview I began teaching Leninka. We were talking and she said that she had received an answer to her prayer and that she knew that she needed to be baptized. She then started to recognize the guilt from some of her past sins and it scared her a little bit. I helped her recognize that baptism is important for this reason. I was able to set a baptismal date with her for the 8th of October. She talked to me about how she feels that the events in her life have lead her to this point. That she didn't really know why she came to Iquique in the long run, and then i began to testify to her that it was because of this reason. To receive the gospel. Mary passed her interview and was cleared for baptism.

The end of the night I went with elder kennedy and he reviewed the day with me. He gave me some great comments and then some suggestions on how I could improve. He talked about how President has a lot of trust in our group of missionaries that came in together. He said that he thinks we have potential to be the greatest group he´s had. Ha ha it scared me a little bit that we have big expectations.

Saturday was an absolutely crazy day but it finished out great. Most of the day was spent preparing for Mary´s baptism. At lunch that day I had probably the weirdest food I have had in Chile. Fried Cauliflower. It was very weird. Many people came to Mary´s baptism and here is a crazy story. Right before the baptismal service I asked Mary what her complete name was. She said Mary Moreno Valdez. So when we went to do the baptism I baptized her in that name. After I had baptized her I turned on the drain so it could drain while we finishing the program. After the program  I went to check if the font was draining and it wasn´t I was confused because it always works and I was wondering what the problem was but i left it and then we went with Mary to fill out the baptismal record because we didn't have time to fill it out before the service. As i begin to fill out the form she tells me her full complete name is Lucy Marixlo Moreno Valdez. I was in shock. I asked her why didn´t she tell me her full name earlier and she said she thought Mary was easier. Ha ha I was like ohhh great now what are we going to do. We talked to the 2nd counselor and decided that we needed to baptize her again. Here is the great blessing. The font had not drained. This was why the drain wasn´t working, because we needed to baptize her again. As soon as we discovered that her name was different I went to flip on the drain switch and it started to work. If the font had drained we would have had to wait to re do her baptism and it would have just created a huge mess. It was a miracle. I baptized her again and that time is was right.

Sunday was a great day as well. We had 5 investigators with 7 less actives. At church I was talking to Mary about her 2 kids in Bolivia. She had said that when she had felt that she needed to be baptized that she told her kids about the church. And now both of her 2 kids in Bolivia are now meeting with the missionaries. I was so happy and so excited. It is crazy how one little thought to go to a different street over a month ago has lead to all of this. This work is great. It is so amazing to see the change this gospel can have in the lives of people. It is incredible to see the light in people grow brighter. I know this church is true. I know that our savior died and atoned for our sins. I hope you all have a great week. Love you all. 

Elder Newman

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hola Familia! ¿Qué Tal?

This week was crazy and ended up finishing fantastic! So Monday after email and everything I took Elder Smith to the terminal where all of the buses come. It was really weird and it didn´t really hit me that he had left until he had actually gotten on the bus. We had the bishop and some of our investigators and ward people come to the terminal to say goodbye and then he left on the big double decker bus! After that I spent the rest of the day with the zone leaders. The rest of the night we spent the time dropping off elders at their pensions (apartments) and helped them getting their luggage and things. It was actually pretty crazy we were driving all over iquique. Our pension is the closest to the tur bus terminal so when elders need to come and go places they always come stay at our pension. We had to get up that Monday morning early at like 1:30 am to go take a elder to the terminal because he had to go pick up his new companion in antofa. But the next morning I just spent with the zone leaders. And then we got news that my companion had arrived. We went to the terminal and picked him up.

His name is elder tymczyszyn. He is from a town called Formosa in Argentina about 16 hours north of buenos aires right next to Paraguay. He speaks English surprisingly well. Not perfect but he can understand me. The grammar is not perfect but he communicates what he needs to. This is much better practice for me because I can speak more Spanish now and improve in those area. Also it is good that he is a native because he can correct my grammar and things. It is quite funny when he will ask how to saw a certain word in english and i struggle to remember the word or phrase. I can´t imagine how my english be by the end of my mission.

I was a bit nervous about this companionship but I am coming to love him more and more as the time goes on. He will be a great companion. Later that Tuesday we went and bought groceries and just helped him get settled and later we went and we taught a few lessons and introduced him to the sector. This week has been great and the work is really improving. The flores family who we have been working with is improving very much. The dad wants to baptize his daughter and this last week we were working with Javiera the daughter. Wednesday we had taught her about the gospel and then worked to commit her to baptism. We were able to set a baptismal date with her for the 29th of September. But we encouraged her to pray and ask if she needs to be baptized. She came to church yesterday with her dad and then last night we were with the family. As we were leaving Elder Tym (Im going to start saying elder tym because it is much easier) asked her if she had prayed. She said that she had and she said that in the church she felt really good and that she wants the holy ghost. Haha she is progressing very much and she has great desires to choose the right. She always follows through on her commitments to read and pray. We are very excited about her and the potential this family holds as we try to work them back to activation. 

Also this week we have been working Mary and Leninka. Mary is super solid for her baptismal date and we are going to baptize her this Saturday. Her friend Leninka who we had originally taught and found had come back from Bolivia and had wanted to continue receiving the lessons and be baptized. (this is the lady that we found that had talked about her sons death and how she only let us in because it was a special day). Leninka is also progressing much and she came to church yesterday as well. Yesterday at church we had 6 investigators and 5 less actives. We were very excited and are going to try and bring more this next week. We have 5 baptismal dates right now for September and will probably set 2 more this next week for the end of the transfer. Giovanni and Giovanna a couple we have been working with are also incredible. They are a reference from a family in our ward and are just so sweet. They have a 4 year old daughter who is so cute and reminds me of Alyssa when she was little but with brown hair. The wife giovanna has received an answer that everything is true and the husband giovanni felt like it was true but he said he received an answer that he needs to continue to read the book of mormon. We are very excited for the blessings that we are receiving in this sector. 

A little bit about my companion. Elder Tym is a convert to the church from 2 years ago. He had a very tough life before the mission with drugs and other things but found the missionaries and they changed his life forever. He knows the bible very well and is a great missionary. He studied history before he came on the mission and wants to be a historiador.. (cant remember the english word). But he wants to get his doctorate after the mission. He is 21 years old and turns 22 in November. He loves the Lord and the people. Something that he taught me these last few days is to love the people more. I have been striving to love the people but really didn´t know how. He said that there is a cliche between the latins and gringos through the mission. He said that the gringos are very concerned about time and looking at their watches and making things quick and precise while the latins just try to love the people. I was able to recognize this in myself. Haha I am very much this way about being precise but he has really taught me to just love the people more and relax.

We had a amazing experience last night as a companionship. After this special experience we had last night I know for a surety that our mission president is inspired. I know with all of my heart that the Lord is in charge. Elder Tym was sent to me and was prepared in ways to help me. He has a plan for everything and as we try to do our best everything will work out. I love my savior Jesus Christ so much. There have been parts of these last 3 months that have been the most challenging of my life, but I know the Lord is in charge. As time continues on I gain more and more reason to trust in Him. I love this gospel so much and am so happy that I have this opportunity to share it with the people of Chile. I hope you all had a wonderful week, I love you all so much. I love my savior Jesus Christ and I know he lives! I testify that this church is true. Keep pressing forward, and "try a little harder to be a little better"- President Gordon B. Hinckley

Con Amor, 

Elder Newman
September 10, 2012

Hey Family! 

Happy Birthday Dad and Keira last week!  Carter and Keira look so big in the pictures! Don´t let them forget about their favorite uncle Zach! They are growing up! Crazy! I can´t believe she is two years old! 

Hope that you are all having a great week. It is crazy to believe that my first transfer in the mission is already over! Crazy how fast time flies! I have been here for six weeks?! No way! Well the first news of the week is that Elder Smith is being transferred! He is going to Copiapo which is 16 hours south from here! He will be a zone leader down there. So I will be getting a new companion tonight. His name is like Elder Tysmsym or something like that. I have no idea how to pronounce it he is from Argentina. He has been in the mission since May i think. So hopefully all will go well with that! Elder Smith has been great but I am excited to begin this new chapter of my mission and learn more things! I have learned much about the missionary I want to be and how I am going to improve the work here in Iquique this next transfer.

This last week was great. Not as great as last week as far as numbers but personally i learned much about how to be a better disciple and representative of Jesus Christ. Monday night we taught a family who has been inactive for 10 years. The parents are both members but the daughters are not members. Their names is the Familia Flores. The dad used to be in a bishopbric and was a great guy but for reasons stopped attending. He eventually got into problems with drinking and smoking and eventually the daughter and wife and himself wanted to stop. He said that if the whole family went to church that next week then he would stop and since then he hasn't picked up either of the substances. So monday night we met with them and they fed us some food. If you want to know what some classic chilean food is like. Here are a few things. Get some good bread. Then you get palta (avocado) and then just spread some avocado on the bread and eat it! Interesting huh! Pretty tasty I eat avocado like a hound but the bread is fattening. They also have sandwiches with just ham and cheese. No mayo they love mayo on their salads and stuff, I have never understood this yet but haha salads usually consist of think lettuce, beets, carrots and occasionally a tomato. Anyways that´s a little of the food for ya! Haha but back to my week!

Tuesday we were walking to an appointment. This guy was approaching us and then hocked a loogie (spit) right at me and then started swearing and saying all sorts of crazy stuff at us. We just kept walking I tried to keep myself calm and then I thought about the Savior. I thought about how we are representatives of him, and how during his life he was spit at, beaten, and crucified for doing nothing but good. It helped me to remember who i represent and to always act with dignity

Later that day we taught our Investigator Mary about the chastity and the importance of the Book of Mormon. She is solid. She will be a great member of the church.

Wednesday we went on exchanges. The district leader came over with me into my zone. He told me that my spanish was really good so that was some good news. At times i get discouraged with myself because i want to be able to do so much more but the language at times holds me hostage to the work I can do. However that was good to hear and I hope to continue to progress. During my study on Wednesday I received an impression that I need to start memorizing all of the scirpture mastery. So that is what I have been spending some time doing in the streets while walking.

Thursday we had a full day planned and then every single one of our appointments fell through. I have been thinking a lot lately about how we can better solidify our citas (appointments) with our investigators to make sure that it actually goes through.

Friday we taught our youth investigators Benjamin and Jeremias and then we were able to get the signature of approval from their mom. They are excited about their baptism on the 29th and the mom is becoming more interested about baptism as we continue teaching the sons. Yesterday at church we were hoping for many of our investigators to come. Yet 2 of our baptismal dates fell. Omar and Javier did not show up to church. We had called Javier to remind him that morning and he relapsed the night before drinking and he felt awful that morning and couldn´t come to church. So that was a little bit of a bummer but we did get one new investigator there who we had set a baptismal date the day before so that was sawweet! His name is Carlos and he is an uncle of a member in our ward. He´s like 65 he wants to get baptized. He has already begun reading the book of Mormon and will come to church with his nephew every week. All in all we had 3 investigators at church and then 4 less actives.

This last week we found 17 new investigators. probably about 8 of them are interested in our message. But we are finding people to teach. This week with my new companion we are going to spend more time with our progressing investigators to solidify them and help them get a decent foundation while we prepare them for their baptism. This last week I have also really tried to always be happy! This week I have really strive to love the people and the country where I am serving even more. Some elders make it hard when they complain about how things wouldn´t be like this if we were in the states and blah blah blah but this week I just said forget this nonsense about comparing things to home! This is my home! This is my home for the next 21 months and I am going to love this place for every single second that I am here! Time is so precious and there are people who need our saving message about the Savior Jesus Christ and his Atonement. The need to know about the restoration of the gospel and that they can have full access to the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ! That is why I am here! I am excited for this next week and the potential it holds! We need to take advantage of every single day! Live life enjoying every single second! I love you all so much! I love this gospel! I am so grateful for the opportunity the Lord has given me to serve the people here in Chile. I love my savior Jesus Christ. Everyday I want to be more like him! As we exercise faith and rely on his atonement one day "when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we will shall see him as he is". Have a great week family! Keep the faith! Take advantage of everyday and love life to its fullest!

Elder Newman

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hello Fam!

Hope all is well up in the Garden of Eden. Haha, we are doing very well here down in Iquique!

Tuesday night was awesome! We went and taught the Carolina lady and her friend Mary. We taught them the restoration again and answer their questions. We were able to set Baptismal dates with them for the 22nd of September! We were very excited about that and then after that we went and taught Gonzalo our recent convert about the priesthood. It is incredible to see the change in some people and how much more light they have. After that I went straight to bed because I had to leave at 2 am to Antofagasta for a newbies conference!

I had an 8 hour bus ride to Antofagasta. Oh man ha ha the buses are nice but it is a long time on a bus especially when we just recently had the zone conference too. ha ha its a charter bus with two levels. they are crazy but the second level is so hottt. I sweat like a crazy dog and just die! We got to Antofagasta around 10 am and then went to the institute building to wait for president and sister Bruce. Once there we had talked about the vision of the mission and things we would need to accomplish.

President Bruce spent the whole day nailing it into us that we need to baptize. Baptize baptize baptize. We are called to baptize. Ha ha he said if there is one word I want you to remember from this conference it is baptize. He gave us lots of great advice and counsel. We had PowerPoint all day and then had some lunch. We had some empanadas they were really good.

After that we had a few more things from president and then we went back on the bus stop and took the 8 hour trip back to Iquique. Elder Smith was on exchanges with other elders in the zone while i was in Antofa. I got back that night at about 12:30 am and I was just exhausted. But i was ready to do work and was ready to go baptize. I talked to elder smith about my desires and what president said and we were really excited about the plans we had to baptize. 

Thursday we taught Mary and we taught her the Word of Wisdom. She gave up her cigarettes to us and we took the box and then threw them away of course hahaha. Friday we worked our tails off and the Lord blessed us much. We were doing contacting and found a man named Omar. He has 3 kids but we taught him the restoration. He had never really had a specific religion in his life because he never felt like any of them were the true church but he would read the bible for direction. After we taught him that lesson we set a baptismal date with him for the 22nd of September as well. After that we taught this guy named Javier who elder smith found the day i was in antofa. Javier wants to quit smoking and drinking and so he knew we could help him change his life.

We taught him  and then after set a baptismal date with him for the 22nd as well. That night we found some great potential new investigators. They are from Arica but its a single mom and her three sons. One is 12 and his name is Benjamin and there is a little brother named Jeremias.

The next morning (Saturday) there was mutual for the ward and we taught the class. We invited Benjamin to come with us and so he came with us to mutual. He met some of the other youth and really had a good time. Later we went to go teach Omar but he wasn't there but we ended up teaching his mom with a member from our ward. The member is a return missionary so that is very helpful. That night we taught some less actives and gave the wife a blessing because she has been sick

Sunday morning we got up and then started calling our investigators about church. That is the hardest thing about Chile is getting our investigators to church.  However we had our members of the ward assigned and they helped us get our investigators to church. We had 6 investigators at church. We had Mary, Javier, Omar, and we brought Benjamin and his little brother Jeremias and they loved it. Carolina was out of town, but we had many there. The mom was out of town so we couldn't bring her to church.

After Church we ate with a member family in our ward. They made us some yummy Brazilian dish. After that we went and taught Omar and then his son and mom were there with us. Omar's wife left him and she is a drug addict. But we taught the 3 of them the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We were able set baptismal dates with the Grandma and son and they are being planned for the 29th! By the end of the week we had 6 baptismal dates! After that we went and taught a member and finished the night contacting. Elder smith asked me if we should just go back to the pension and start planning but I said no that we needed to endure to the end. The last door that we knocked we found two women who were very prepared to receive the gospel! We gave them a baptismal challenge and they both accepted it. It is often the most important that we endure to the end.

This week was incredibly successful and by the end of next week we look to have 10 investigators with baptismal dates. Hopefully everything will go well and that we can be able to keep these baptismal dates! This work is incredible! It is amazing how many of the Lords children are prepared to receive the gospel here in Chile! This gospel is true and there are many people who are waiting to receive it and to have access to the full blessings of the Atonement! Have such a great week family! Keep the faith and endure to the end! Love you all!

Elder Newman