Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

"I'll Be Home For Christmas, If Only In My Dreams"

The dogs in Rio Branco are pretty cute,
So cute - I could kiss em...

Hey punks!

Okay for skype we are going to do it at 3:30ish here, which would be like 10:30ish there. Hopefully that works okay for you guys. I can't believe a whole year has past since I skyped you in Hawaii. I'm super excited.

Haha I totally remember the Burnetts taking that picture. They are such an awesome couple. They also made a video of the christmas conference if you want to watch I think they put it on youtube as ¨Christmas Devotional Montevideo 2014¨
Things are just going great here. Thank you everyone for the letters and emails, they help a lot.

So all of the five people that were baptised while I was here were in church yesterday. It was a really good day. The Barreto's are so awesome, they give us food like everyday because we live right next to them. Here in Uruguay the retention of new converts is not a strong point, but we are really working to keep these people going strong. Marcos and Anthony also talked with the bishop yesterday and they are going to be receiving the priesthood next week. Now the ward will have two deacons to pass the sacrament... success.

The mission conference was an adventure. First of all we had district meetings in Melo on Tuesday, and we had to travel an hour and a half for that. Then we decided to stay there and do divisions with other missionaries instead of going back to Rio Branco because the bus that took us to Montevideo left from Melo. So that day I worked with Elder Leavitt, one of the zone leaders. He is such an amazing missionary and I have seriously looked up to him since day one in the Salt Lake airport. Then we slept over at their house on Tuesday and left for Montevideo at like 3 in the morning the next day. It is about a six hour bus ride... super fun. Actually the bus ride back was pretty fun. We were playing snaps the whole time. "Snaps is the name of the game, the name of the game is snaps". I think that you guys taught me that from some chick flick, but I knew it and Elder Vaatuitui knew it as well. Everyone else was freaking out though. It took them a good 2 hours to figure it out.

The Christmas conference was a very spiritual experience for me. I really felt grateful for the great opportunity that I have to be serving at this time of year. The music was great, I imagine it was something like the piano guys... maybe not quite as professional but it was wonderful. I have been thinking a lot of dad always saying that he is jealous of the blessing I have to serve during Christmas. The bishop in our ward actually shared yesterday in sacrament meeting that christmas in the mission is different. There is just nothing like it. So I am ready to enjoy this week to the fullest.

I hope all of you back at home have a very Merry Christmas. Just know that ¨I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams ;)¨

I will see you guys on the flip flop later... I mean Thursday.

Elder England

Standing outside, waiting for the bus at 3 in the morning...
In the bus :)

This is Elder Ashcroft - he is also from my group...
it was a group party in Melo!

I thought this pic was pretty cool...
yeah, I took it :) 

I forgot to tel you, the mission decided to give
us a car because we walk so much!

Monday, December 15, 2014

I Need To Do All I Can And Not Waste One Second

Anthony and Marco's Baptism!

A week full of amazing talks. I'm bummed I couldn't hear everyone speak. But I know you all did amazing. I loved the pics, haha Dalt looks sooooooo tall! Haha I totally love Preston, that picture just brings back memories from scout camps and young mens. And that's a cute pic of my two favorite brown people.
So I like the idea of going home and getting released, then coming back. I don't know why but lately I have been having dreams of getting home in the airport... I hate it! I wake up and I'm like NO I don't want to go home!!! I think that it is finally hitting me that I have like six months left. The good thing is that whenever I think about that, I just feel a need to do all I can and not waste one second. But things are going great here in Rio Branco.
We had the baptisms of Marcos and Anthony. It was an amazing service. I baptised Anthony and my comp baptised Marcos. But right after Marcos got baptised he was saying, ¨Oh, I feel so good¨ and he was just grabbing his chest. Then at the end of the service Marcos got up and gave one of the most powerful testimonies I have ever heard from a new convert. Everyone was so impressed! What he said reminded me a lot of what Lucas said when he got baptised. Marcos got up and invited everyone that hadn't been baptised to be baptised, he then shared how he felt and his desire to keep learning. The only bummer about the service was that not one of their family members went :( They said they were all out of town. But we are going to really try and focus on their families this week.
We are still going strong with the El es la dadiva video. We are hoping to involve the members more with this new inniciative.
This last week, we had a conference with President. It was only with our zone, because we also had interviews with him. It was a really great conference, and I can see that President Cook is a very inspired man. It was fun after the conference, because Pres. drove us back to Rio Branco. I don't know if I told you, but it is like an hour and a half bus ride from Melo to Rio Branco and we make that trip at least once a week. However, while talking about golf with President he mentioned that he has a condo in Sunbrook... super funny.
Anyways this week we have our annual mission Christmas conference on Wednesday. So at like two in the morning on Wednesday we will be getting on a bus to go to Montevideo. I am really excited though, It'll be fun to see all my mission friends.
I love you all more than you will ever know! Keep being awesome! y vamos arriba Utes!
Elder England

At the Baptism and later celebrating the
baptism with cookies!

At the border of Uruguay and Brazil!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Baptism City

 They call Rio Branco - Baptism City

Hey fam...

Thanks for the emails, especially yours Mace. Wow this keyboard is horrible, this might be quite difficult to type today. But this last week was awesome. Like you mentioned dad, we are using the ¨Èl es la dadiva¨ or "He is the gift"  program. If you haven't seen the video go on the church's website now and watch the video, it's amazing. As a misión we are trying to  use this video as much as we can. It is slightly different here because there are a lot of people who don't have internet Access in their houses, but we are going to try and figure a way out to show it to all our investigators. I really am so blessed to be able to serve during Christmas. Last Christmas was awesome, and I expect this one to be even better. Oh and I got my packages... thanks so much I love you!!! My comp is stoked. But the presents are just going to be sitting there for like 20 more days. I don't know if I'm going to make it...  but hey I waited last year... we´ll see ;)

Macarena got baptised. She is super funny! I'm not sure how to explain her other than saying that she is quite awkward but the nicest person I have ever met. The whole Ward was so happy for her. She has been waiting for so long to get baptised and she finally could this week. It was wonderful.

Marcos and his cousin Anthony are doing great. They both went to church yesterday and we announced they're baptisms for this Thursday. We really haven't had much contact with their families, because they aren't interested. We tried talking to Marcos´ mom once because she was outside when we went by and we asked her if she would be interested in hearing a message about how her family can be more happy, but she didn't seem to care. Then we asked if she approved of Marcos going to church and of him being baptised and she pretty  much said, ¨I don't care as long as you guys don't bother me.¨ I was kind of bummed about that, but Marcos is such a stud that I have confidence that some day they will come to the knowledge of the góspel. We had an awesome charla with Marcos on Saturday on the atonement. I was so amazed at how well he understood. He definitely understands the atonement better than I did when I was 13. So hopefully we can get the parents consent so that they can be baptised this Thursday.

Adelia and Ledo are doing great. They are so funny. They always give us food and stuff. For example we got home running one night and they were outside (not sure if I told you but live right next door to them. Like we rent a part of their house.) but they just gave us a huge 3.3 liter of Pepsi, yeah that exists a 3.3 bottle of Pepsi. Latino's drink a lot of soda!  I think I am kind of sick of it. Kenna  you would die here.

But there's the update. Haha we had a Ward choir practice  yesterday, and let's just say that my ears still hurt...I don't think the practice helped at all. We are going to be singing next Sunday in sacrament meeting, pray for us!

I love you all more than you will ever know! 

Elder England

Macarenas baptism

This is what happens when Elder Parementer gets my camera when
I am verifying my District!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Dreams and Miracles

Adelia and Ledo at their baptism
They are such an awesome family!

Macy is home!!!!!!!!

This is all so weird for me! Whenever I thought of Mace I just thought that she was doing the same exact thing that I was doing. It doesn't surprise me that everyone in Colorado said that she was the best missionary that they have ever had, because she is. She has helped me so much on my mission. I seriously couldn't have imagined serving without her setting the way for me. You guys are all so awesome!!! Bummer that everyone was sick, but the trip looked really fun. I am down for anything as far as you guys coming here at the end of my mission. It would be fun, but if you didn't come, I know that we would come back some day. I am so blessed to have so much support from such an amazing family. 

Rio Branco is just as great as it was last week. We had a baptism this Saturday for Adelia and Ledo. They are such an awesome family. Okay miracle time, so Adellia and Ledo´s daughter who lives in another city nearby got baptised like two weeks ago. Elisa is her name, and before Elisa got baptised she had a dream that she saw two personages in a grove of trees. In this time, she had recieved a resoration pamphlet but never looked at it. So after she had this dream, she went and looked at the pamphlet and saw a picture of the first vision, and said that that was what she saw. Then the week before the baptism of her parents she had a dream that they were going to get baptised on Saturday 29th at 7:00. It was crazy because that was before Adelia and Ledo had there interview with president so we hadn't said anything specific about when the baptism would be. Then they had their interview and passed, and on Sunday the baptism was announced for Saturday at 5:00. But for some reason, I am still not sure who changed the time, the time changed from 5:00 to 7:00. Nobody knew about the dream that Elisa had except for their family, but they told us on Sunday evening. I even saw that Elisa had written on their calendar the time and date. It was so awesome! First crazy miracle.

The second has to do with an investigator named Marcos. We are teaching a group of young men who are really really receptive. Marcos is one of them. This week we were talking with him and asking why he wants to be baptised, and he told us that the first charla that he had with the missionaries, before I got here, they talked about the plan of salvation and he was super interested. So he went online and read all about the church and read about Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon (By the way this kid is 13 years old). He then told us that he prayed that same day to know for himself if 
The Book of Mormon was true and that night he said he had a dream that he was reading The Book of Mormon to his family. He already has a testimony, and since then we have been reading The Book of Mormon with him and he has been progressing really rapidly. He unfortunately couldn't go to church yesterday because there was elections here in Uruguay, and everyone older than 18 has to vote or they will have to pay a fee. So his mother took him to his grandmas house in the morning so she could go vote. But we have talked with him and he and one of his friends (Anthony) are going to be baptised on the 13th.

The third miracle. Here is Rio Branco there is an investigator named Macarena who is 16 years old. She is the nicest girl in the world and has been attending church almost every single week since January. She has not been baptised because her mother does not like the church at all and she refuses to talk to missionaries. Neither I nor my comp has officially met her. We saw her outside her house once while walking by, but right as she saw us she bolted inside. However, we have been talking to Macarena and helping her to have the strength to talk to her mom and express her desire to be baptised. Well on I think it was Friday, we talked with her in the morning and she sent us a text just saying, ¨My mom will sign the paper!¨ The whole ward is so excited that she is finally going to get baptised. Her baptism will be this Wednesday:)

I don't know how all of this is happening, but I am very aware now that this is the Lord's work and he works in his own way to bring these people to the path of eternal life. 

I love missionary work! Thanks for everything! I love you guys more than you will ever know.

Have an awesome week:) 

Elder England

It is raining really hard right now, and yes I'm wearing a trash bag :)