Monday, November 24, 2014

The Promised Land

I made it!  I love it here in Rio Branco!

Hello!  To Answer your questions...

My companions is Elder Parmenter. He is from St. George and he has only three months on his mission. I am his second companion. Remember that I told you guys that I got to take some brand new missionaries out on their first day when I was in Carrasco? Well I took out Elder Martinez who is Elder Parmenter´s trainer. Elder Martinez es un capo! He has been killing it up here in Rio Branco and they have been seeing good success.

I honestly love it here, but getting here wasn't that fun. We went in bus to Melo. Melo is part of our zone and is where the zone leaders are and most of the missionaries in the zone live. Oh the zone leaders are Elder Leavitt (who is from my group, he is a stud) and Elder Gallacher (He lived with me in Florida). They are super awesome. But the day of changes we left Montevideo at like 3 in the afternoon, but didn't get to Melo until like 9:30. My comp was in Melo waiting for us to get there. We ended up staying the night there in the zone leader's house, and then we got up at like 5:30 to catch an hour and a half bus ride to Rio Branco. So we got here on Thursday morning.

The area is really awesome. The whole Melo zone is known in our mission as the "Promised Land", because they tend to have a lot of success. And that is what is happening here in Rio Branco. We live in a pretty nice house;) with two other elders: Elder Vaatuitui (he is from Liberty, Utah but yes he is Somoan) and Elder Ramirez (from Idaho). It is a ward, not very big, but yes a ward. All four of us are in the same ward. I am still District Leader, and I love it! Elder Ramirez is also a district leader... kind of interesting having two DL in one house.

Seriously though it is awesome here. We had two investigators who were planning their baptism, but they had to have an interview with President Cook because they had an abortion. Abortion is a big problem here, there are so many people that have participated in them... really sad. But Adelia and Ledo our investigators are really awesome and it was a long time ago. Any who, President Cook and Hna Cook came up here on Saturday and did the interview. Well Pres did the interview while Hna Cook was shopping at something they call here the free shops. Everything is a lot cheeper here than anywhere else in Uruguay because we are close to Brasil. But the interview went great, and they are going to be baptised on Saturday! Oh I have a story to tell about the baptism but I'll tell it next week.

We may also have another baptism on Saturday. Her name is Marina and she is from a part member family. She is I think 10 years old and really cool, but she couldn't come to church because she was at her mom's house which is outside of town in the middle of no where. Anywhere outside of town we call la campaƱa, just like the fields. But even without Marina in church we had 8 investigators come to church. It was such a miracle!!! We weren't expecting like half of them either. They were just friends that members had brought or people that just showed up. I don't even know what happened, but it was amazing. I think that a big part of it is that Elder Parmenter had a big desire to be obedient and work, which is just a little different than Elder Brown. I believe that all the success is due to Elder Martinez and Elder Parmenters diligence and also our obedience this week. But hey I just saw the mission newsletter and it said that Carlos from Lomas de Solymar got baptised on Saturday - that makes me so happy!

Guys I love the mission. I'm glad to hear that everything is going great there. Macy is stinking going home this week, I literally can't believe it!!! 

I love you all more than you will ever know.

Elder England

On our 8 hour journey to Rio Branco

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I'm Leaving - Going To A Place Called Rio Branco

 This Santa isn't latino but he's short enough to fit in!

Hey fam!!!

I loved the emails this week! Keep em coming. I don't really want to write the other essay right now, but I'll get that done and send it next week. I'm not sure if I'll have a lot of time today, because I have to pack... oh yeah that's right I'M LEAVING!!! 
I'm going to a place called Rio Branco. It is way up near Brazil, I actually think it is on the border. I'm sooooo excited! It's going to be like a million degrees up there, but I don't care. 

Although I'm super stoked to go, I'm really sad that I have to leave Lomas. This past week was full of miracles but also some let downs. Blanca had her interview for her baptism on Monday, but didn't end up passing. It was quite difficult for her to remember all that we had taught her. So she did not end up getting baptised, but we explained the situation to her really well and told her that we were going to help her prepare herself a little more. However, the next time we passed by she said that she was really sad. Also like you were saying dad, her daughter left this last week as well. It was overall kind of a rough week for Blanca. But she is now living in her new house with a lady that is watching over her and she seems to be doing a lot better. I am really sad that I'm not going to be able to teach her anymore, I really love Blancita! I think that Elder Brown thinks I have a crush on her or something just because I say that I love her so much after the lessons. 

Another reason that I am extremely sad to leave is because Carlos is going to be baptised on Saturday, and I'll be so far away that I'm not going to be able to go to the baptism. I've felt tempted to complain about not being able to baptize for 4 months here in Lomas, and then the week I leave we have a super awesome baptism. But It has really helped me realize that we don't do this for ourselves, we do it for them. I know that Carlos` life is going to change big time, actually it already has... I can see it. We are going to be going to mutual with all the young men tonight and I'll take some pics of Carlos to send next week. He is a stud. Also we have been talking to him about sharing the gospel with his family. I am positive that his mom and siblings will get baptised after him.

Okay the random wooden thing... here is the story. Elder Brown and I were walking down the street and we saw this thing and we were like what the heck is this thing. Elder Brown suggested it was a contraption to kill animals, like they would kill them and then lift them up and cut the meat and such. On the other hand, and I don't know where this came from, I thought it was to be used for ribbon climbing. Nevertheless, like two days later we were walking near there and Elder Brown with a shocked look on his face said, ¨What the heck you were right¨ so then I looked over and there were like fifty little girls climbing ribbons, actually a lot of them were hanging upside down by there ankles. So Kenna you're kind of right about hanging people, but I think dad was the closest. I did like the guess of the first church in Uruguay, that was good.

Something funny: To come to email each week or go buy groceries or pretty much go anywhere we take buses. In the mornings, the buses are usually very full, which implies that personal space does not exist. For example, in the isle there are always two rows of people standing both facing different directions. Luckily I'm tall enough that usually my bum is at a different level than the person behind me. But somehow there is always a tall and slightly overweight person standing right behind me. I always just think in my head, ¨This is so awkward!¨ Elder Brown and I were laughing saying that when you buy your ticket you should have to sign something because we have definetly felt violated on the buses.

I love you all more than you will ever know! Have a great week.
Elder England

My district!  Best district ever!

Me eating pizza and drinking Guarana - 
AND...I can't resist McDonald's ice cream, I
get one every time I go to the mall
(which is like every P-Day)

Monday, November 10, 2014

My Potential As A Missionary

What is the most difficult thing you have ever done or experienced?

One of the most difficult things I have ever done or experienced is serving as a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I was called to serve in the Montevideo, Uruguay mission. As I began my mission, learning spanish and adapting to the missionary life style seemed to be two of the biggest struggles I would face in my two years of service. However, with only three months in the mission, I had adapted sufficiently to be called to train a brand new missionary. Although training was difficult, through the course of my mission I have faced trials more challenging. The biggest trial I have encountered on my mission is living up to my personal expectations about my potential as a missionary. I always pictured missionaries without flaw, and then I became one. I know that missionaries are not perfect. Inspite of this knowledge, I often expect myself to be perfect. I recognize that God expects nothing less than my best. The hardest part is understanding what my best is. If there is one thing I have learned from serving a mission, it is that making specific goals helps me to understand and achieve what God expects of me. Goals motivate me to endure past exhaustion and beyond excuses. By reaching my goals, my eyes have been opened to my infinite potential. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity that I have had to learn from being a missionary in Uruguay.

I Am Jesus' Now

Blanca!  I love her so much - she will be baptized
this week! 

Okay I have a game... Everyone has to tell me what they
think this wooden thing is used for... I'll tell you next week!
Hint: Be creative

Thanks for all the emails, haha I loved all the pics. Halloween is the best. Mags you did look pretty groovy. Bummer for the UTES. Maggie - scary about the creeper situation! You are doing all the right things about it. ¨We gonna find you, so you can run until that home boy!!!¨ Dad I trust you to take care of this mischief, it's just to bad I can't help. 

So Blanca and Carlos went to church yesterday and they are progressing wonderfully. I took some pics with Blancita, I'll send them. She is hilarious. She was saying the other day that she is Jesus` now because she is in His church, and then she said "Just like the jovenes (Elder Brown and I) are mine". Blanca will be baptised this week :) The members have been helping a lot with her, I really am so grateful that I got to stay here for another transfer. I really am going to miss this ward when I leave. 

Carlos had a baptismal date for the 15th, but he told us on Friday that he just remembered that he has a huge track meet out of town on the 15th and 16th, so he is not going to be here. It was such a let down for me!!! because we have transfers on the 19th, and I don't know what will happen but I've been here for a little while. But I know that if I get changed or not Carlos will get baptised and he will be a strong member of the church. 

With Agustina, we couldn't have much contact with her this week. We had a couple of lessons that went really well, but we think that her parents took her out of town for the weekend. Hopefully next Sunday we can help her to make it to church. 

I love you all more than you will ever know! Thanks so much for helping me and supporting me. Please edit and correct my essays, I'm not sure if I should have mentioned the part about BYU being the enemy. But whatevs. You're the best.

Elder England

Holding the UTES up!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Sunday Disappointment - But It Was A Fantastic Week

Halloween cupcakes!

Happy Halloween!!!

So BYU application first, I told president Cook last week and he said that I can take time to write the essays, and he also mentioned that he already completed the online ecclesiastical endorsement. I'll try and get everything done and then send it all next week. Thanks for all the help with this, you guys are the absoute best! 

So Halloween is super lame here, no one celebrates it here. But we did have a ward activity that turned out okay. The idea was that all the members could bring a friend, and a lot of the members told us during the week that they had or were going to invite a friend. However, Friday came around and some members went but as far as non member friends, there were practically none. One of the members brought her mother that was in town and is not a member, and then on Saturday that same family had a baptism for their 8 year old daughter. But Carlos went to the activity so that was good. 

Ugh... Carlos. Get this, on Tuesday he went to mutual with the young men, on Friday he went to the activity, and on Saturday he went to the baptism of this 8 year old girl. But, on Sunday he was a no show :( He told us on Saturday after the baptism when we walked to his house with him that he was going to go. We tried calling him and going by his house on Sunday, but we still dont' know why he didn't go to church. It was a pretty tough day for me, well the first part at least because Blanca didn't go either. Blanca´s daughter told us on Sunday morning that she had been sick and in the bathroom like all night and that she was in bed so she couldn't go to church. So yeah the first two hours of church were quite stressful and frankly depressing. But I just realized that everything happens for a reason. As the sacrament started I felt a change in attitude. Then some members looked at me and told me that they had their neice there and that she wants to get baptised. I was like... haha what?! Her name is Agustina, and we ended up going over to the members house later in the day yesterday and Agustina was still over there. We had a good little lesson with her. Her parents are not members, and have talked with missionaries before but we are planning on going by Tuesday to meet the parents. 

It was a fantastic week, it really was. Blanca and Carlos progressed a lot. I pray that we can get in contact with Carlos today. We did though talk with his member friends who haven't been helping much and we explained to them that they are going to have a big influence on Carlos and are going to be able to help him a lot. So hopefully they can help Carlos out this week. Because Carlos didn't go to church he can't get baptised on the 8th, but I strongly believe that Carlos will get baptised this month, as well as Blanca, and hopefully Agustina as well. For this reason Elder Brown and I have put a goal of 3 baptisms for the month of November in our area. 

Thanks for all the emails, keep em comin. Bo sounds like futsol is awesome, I always kind of wanted to play futsol but never did. I'm sure you are tearing it up. Soph I don't know what is going on with you, let me know! Mags you're awesome, thanks for lifting me up. So what are you thinking for school? And hey I never got pics of MORP. Dad Im' super bummed the UTES lost, but we still have hope! I thought it was really cool that you took Matthew out. I feel bad that I'm not there to help him, but I'm glad I have you to help. You guys are all amazing.

Have an awesome week. I love you more than you will ever know!
Elder England