Monday, March 30, 2015

We Have Our Hands Full


The trip sounded amazing. I love the pics. That's too bad uncle Todd running his new car off the track. But it sounded pretty fun. Darn I just saw that Elder Perry sent me an email rubbing the loss in my face. I'm very pleased with what the UTES did though. 

So I love Durazno and Elder Miles. We are about 3-4 hours from Montevideo, whereas Rio Branco was a good 6 hours out. Durazno is really pretty though. There are trees lining every street in the city. It's pretty nice cause it gives a lot of shade. My house is nice too, and I love the missionaries in my house. So Elder Miles is from Colorado Springs, Colorado. I don't think that that is Macy's mission. But something interesting about Elder Miles is that he is a convert of about 3 years. He is in his last change, so next change I will have a new comp. He is a really hard worker though. We already get along great and are super excited to work hard and be examples for the zone. We have 20 missionaries in total in Durazno and 3 district leaders. I feel great about our leaders and about the next month. 

Wow we have so many things coming up. So this week we have something called concilio. It is where all the zone leaders and sister training leaders go to Montevideo and have a council about the mission. We have that tomorrow. Then we have general conference. Then the week after we have stake conference in the Durazno stake. Then the week after that we are doing a big open house in our church. The Burnetts (senior missionaries from Sandy Utah) travel the mission doing open houses in all the churches, and we have one planned in our ward for the 18th. Then we are having a conference with one of the twelve apostles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They didn't tell us who it is going to be. But we will have that conference in Montevideo on the 21st of April. It is going to go by really fast! But we will definitely have our hands full. 

I really like the area. The ward is also a lot stronger and more organized than Rio Branco. I think it is mainly because it is larger and in a bigger city. Usually the zone leaders are in the stake centers, but we aren't. But the stake center is here in Durazno pretty close. We don't have anyone super firm for right now, but we do have potential. Over the past couple days I have mainly gotten to know a lot of the members. They all seem very excited to be a part of the open house and to invite friends to general conference. 

I haven't heard much about Rio Branco since I left, but I am going to write Elder Perry to find out what is going on there and how Marcela is doing. 

I got the Easter packages, and I love them. Thank you!!! Elder Martinez one of the elders in my house and I are always shooting each other with the nerf guns. It's pretty great. 

Oh and get this... we have air conditioning in our house!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think that it is like one of the two houses in the whole mission that have it. But it is wonderful. The mission has helped me a lot to recognize all the blessing that before I so easily took for granted. Be grateful for air conditioning. But it is acutally cooling off a little, so I don't think that we will be using it for very long.

Anyways I love you all very much, more than you will ever know!

Elder England

also my camera is dead... sorry no pics

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I'm Going To Durazno

Everyone thinks this is just a picture of me,
even though I told them it was my dad!

Goooo UTES!!!!!!!
Holy cow it's happening!!! I totally called it. So Elder Perry is a big Duke fan because he is from North Carolina. But we shall see, I've been talking smack to him. So hopefully the Utes can pull it out.
Dad well done. Haha I loved hearing mom's version of the story. I can totally see dad laughing to himself while carrying drinks up to Family History Center. Twill be a birthday to remember. But I'm glad to hear that you had a great day mom.
So like you already know we have changes this week!!! Turns out I'm going to DURAZNO! My new companion will be Elder Miles. I am also going to be a zone leader. I'm excited for the new responsibility. I really have learned so much from being a district leader. I can't remember if I told you this, but I realized last week just how much being a district leader has helped me. I feel that before the mission I wasn't the most sociable person... haha but as district leaders in our mission we verify with the missionaries in our districts every night. It seriously has helped me so much to open up and feel more confortable talking to people or giving district meetings. I'm really excited for changes. Also a Brazilian elder is coming here with Elder Perry. I actually know him pretty well, and he is really great. It makes leaving here a lot easier.
I wasn't expecting to leave Rio Branco to be so hard. I've really come to love so many people here. As we told Marcela yesterday that I was leaving she began to tear up. She has changed so much. So we were at a point with Marcela where we weren't sure if we should drop her or keep teaching. Well we had a really intense lesson on Thursday I think it was, and near the end of the lesson I still didn't know what to do. But then it just kind of hit me, that we should do a fast with her so that she can make it to church and so that she will know what she should do to be able to follow the gospel. As we mentioned fasting she was all for it. A member had mentioned an experience to her about him fasting and she said that since then she wanted to do a fast. So on Saturday we started fasting. And on Sunday she woke up early, which is really hard for her, and sent us a message saying that she was ready to go to church and that we would see each other there. She went and loved it. I really hope that she can continue to progress and get baptized.
Eduarda went as well on Sunday. Eduarda is not Marcos´ sister, that is Tanya. Eduarda is a friend of Marcos´. She is 13 years old. She is Brazilian, and lives with her mom and step father here in Rio Branco. She is seriously amazing. She is just like Marcos, but a girl. Elder Perry and I are convinced that they are going to get married and sealed in the temple, after serving missions obviously. They are awesome.
Sunday was actually ward conference, and we had a good amount of people in church. We were actually kind of crammed into our small sacrament room, but it was a good last Sunday in Rio Branco.
Elder Perry is so great. He is so ready to take charge of the area and to show his new comp around.
It's getting harder and harder to say goodbye to people and leave my areas. I can't even imagine what it's going to be like to leave the country. Thats' okay though, cause I still have a lot of time left :)
I love you all more than you will ever know!
Elder England

Monday, March 16, 2015

Pretty Great


HAPPY B-DAY BO, AND MOM!!!!! I still can't get over how big Bo looks. I really like the England jersey. Sounds like the weekend went well. You all look sooooo old. What the heck? But I know you are all the same people cause Mags has a Funion bag in her hands!

So this week has been pretty great. Elder Vaatuitui likes to give me crap for being so old in the mission. He always tells me I'm dying. Haha whenever someone asks me how much time I have been serving I just say about a year and a half, but then my comp just laughs and calls me a liar. However, I think I'm convincing myself to think that iIstill only have like a year and a half in the field.

So Eduarda went to church yesterday. She is progressing quite well. Marcos is also helping a lot. Oh get this! So the young women's in the ward put on a skit for the Relief Society on  the anniversary of the Relief Society, and Marcos was Jose Smith and Eduarda was in the skit too. They performed it... well we performed it at an activity that was on Friday  (Yeah that's right, Elder Perry and I had like one line each). I wish I could have gotten photos, but I forgot my camera. It was way funny, they jelled Marcos´ hair to look like Joseph. The only thing that is holding him back from getting baptised is his parents. We are working to have more contact with them. But they talking about that, we had a great Charla with Marcos´ mom and grandma. It was so perfect. They were sitting outside in front of their house, along with Anthony´s mom, and we just started talking to them. Unfortunately Anthonys mom had to go inside, but we sat there talking to Marcos and his mother for a good time. And apparently she had already listened to missionaries a long time ago. We should have more lessons with her this week, but the dad is super busy so we aren't going to be able to talk  to him for a while, at least until his work load lightens in like a month.

As far as Marcela and Nicolas. They are doing great, or should say were doing great until Sunday. They didn't go to church. She said that she slept through her alarm... again. I don't know exactly what to do with them. They are really awesome, it's just her work that is stopping her from progressing. She works really late on Saturday nights so it's hard to wake up Sunday's. But we are definitely going to be more direct with her this week, so that she can do everything to make it to church next week.

Things are going pretty great. Elder Perry is surprising me everyday.

Thanks for all the emails, I appreciate them. Love you all more than you will ever know.

Elder England

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Hello crazies!!!

Glad to see that you're still you' re weird selves. Lot's of times I feel like I don't even know you guys anymore because you look so different. I can't believe the school year is almost over, and Mags is graduating. School here is just starting, this last week was their first week. 

So I'm writing from Montevideo, we had to come so that my comp can sign for his Visa. We woke up at 2:00 in the morning and onto a bus for 6 hours just to come and sign a paper then we get to take another 6 hour ride back. YAY!!! haha just kidding it's not that bad, I sleep most of the way.

Come on Utes! I hope they can stay strong... but don't worry I' ll be praying for them, and you all know that missionaries prayers are always answered. 

Last week really was great. This one was too. Maybe not as memorable, but it was good. We are still all trying to make the adjustments to our work and our areas, but we are doing really well. As a zone the Lord helped us to reach our baptismal goal of 7 baptisms, and we also set a goal for reactivated families. The goal was 7 as well, and the Lord helped us as a zone to reactivate 8 families. I really feel like we are all working more efficiently. 

For this month we have a baptismal goal of 9 and the goal of 9 familias rescatadas. If we keep working like we are. I think we'll get there. Something Elder Vinas taught a lot was the need to respect people's agency. He said that our responsibility is to invite not to convince. There are so many things that we are still learning from the conference that we had. Something that is changing though is that for investigators to be baptized they only needed to go to church twice at least to sacrament meeting. But now Pres. Cook and the leaders of the mission have changed it to 3 times and they need to go to all 3 hours. I really like this change. I think that it will help us to baptize better, and retain those converts.

I had another awesome experience in church this week. Unfortunately Marcela and Nicolas didn't come to church. We had set up to go by and walk with them, so we went by but no one came out. They said that they just slept in. We will see how we can help them this week. But in the second hour of church we had a class with all of the youth, and acutally there were a good amount of youth, and as I looked around I realized that all of them were recent converts. It was just a cool experience to see that these baptisms are going strong. We are planning of giving Rafael the priesthood next Sunday! Enzo and Marcos passed the sacrament together again this week. They are studs, oh and Marcos got called to be deacons quorum pres. I'm pretty sure he's stoked. Oh and get this Marcos brought his 6 year old sister to church and she went to primary and said that she loved it. Haha I think that that could help us to get more contact with his family. That shows a lot to me though that they are willing to let there 6 year old daughter go to church with Marcos. Unfortunately Marcos´ dad works a lot and isn't home like at all, but we are definitely going to try to have contact this week. It's so funny though, we ask Marcos what he has been doing to share the gospel and he says that he just takes his Book of Mormon and goes and sits right next to his mom or dad on the couch and reads out loud... it's super funny. But he said that he has shared videos and other stuff as well. I think there is a lot of potential there.

That is pretty much the scoop though. I love you all very much, more than you'll ever know. Have a great week.

Elder England

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Hastening The Work

Rafael before his Baptism...
And, a redo for Martin - His father was able to baptize him!

I couldn't be more proud to call myself a UTE. I guess the Lord just wants me there. It would be great if you guys could start the school stuff for me. As far as housing, I'm not sure. I don't know many people who are going to the U. I would be totally fine with living at home for the first semester, but we can figure that situation out. You NEED to send me a bracket.

Sounds like Florida is fun, cold but fun. That's so cool that the Bishop knows T.J. - small world.

Okay this week was awesome. First of all, everything went amazing with the baptism. Rafael was really excited, and said that he wanted me to baptize him. It was a good day. Also the member, well I guess not member kid Martin, got baptized as well. They had apparently lost his paperwork or never filled out a baptismal record in their last ward, so he had to be baptized again. The cool part was that before, this dad wasn't able to baptize him, because he was less active I believe, but on Saturday he was able to baptize his son. They are such an amazing family, and are actually preparing to go to the temple to be sealed soon.

On Tuesday we went to Minas for a conference with Elder Viñas from the area seventy. It was such a great conference. He was really staight with us; and with the whole mission. He talked a lot about the retention of recent converts, and how low it is in Uruguay. It really is sad, but the missions retention is about 20-30%. However, we saw some miracles after the conference trying to have more contact with the converts in our area, and guess what we had 8 of the 11 converts in church! That may not sound very good to you guys, but it was amazing for me to see that. Also Enzo was able to recieve the priesthood, and he and Marcos passed the sacrament together. Also in the second hour we had an awesome lesson with all the young men and Rafael talking about the duties and blessings of the priesthood. Also in sacrament meeting, Marcos went up and bore his testimony of the power of the sacrament and how it's not just a peice of bread and cup of water but that there is happiness and peace in these symbols. It was awesome.

Marcela and Nicolas are doing great. They didn't go to church because she said that they slept in. But on Friday we had a great lesson with our old bishop and she committed to talking to her boss to have Sundays off. I really have been fasting and praying so that she can get Sunday's off or find a new job. It really is the biggest obstacle between them and the gospel. It's so saddening to see how the world has changed the sabbath into the complete opposite of what it should be. In preach my gospel it talks about this, that those who lose sight of the importance will lose promised blessings.

It's going to be a great week though. Elder Perry is growing leaps and bounds... and so am I. The mission is changing the focus a little. Well the focus has always been the same. Encontrar, enseñar, bautizar, retener, y rescatar. Find, teach, baptise, retain and rescue. I just feel personally that we don't understand that we need to be doing all of it at the same time. Hopefully this week as a mission and a district we can find that balance and start hastening the work. It's such a blessing to be serving in a time when the work is growing at such a fast rate.

Keep being awesome. Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes. I definitely have felt your love and support. I love you all more than you will ever know.

Oh and happy B-Day Justin! It's the best birthday you could ever have!
Have a great week guys.

Elder England

We make pancakes every Sunday night! It's amazing - 
excpet I always feel sick after eating so many pancakes