Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Letter #106 - January 31, 2012

Hey Mom,

Well, this is how my last week in the mission went.,

Monday,

Today after our PDay, we had a ward family home evening in the chapel. Basically it was just a ward activity. Just based on how everything worked out, I assumed that we weren't going to have many people. I was wrong, as a ton showed up. There was a spiritual thought and then everyone was let loose. People went outside to eat watermelon and then the kids came back in to play volleyball with a huge balloon while the adults hung around, talked, and drank mate. It was actually a huge success, and I took quite a few pictures too.

Tuesday,

Today was my last district meeting in the mission. It's kinda interesting because before I used to listen really good and write down any ideas and stuff. Today, I didn't even care hardly at all. I still care about the work and the people we teach, but I guess I felt like listening to someone teach how to do it better didn't catch my interest much at this point haha. I also managed to sell my electric blanket and pull up bar (which I bought from an elder a few months ago and never used haha), so I was kinda happy about that. Today we also had a baptism, my last one of the mission. Shirley got baptized today. We had to clean the font again (people left water in it again), and then we had the service. A mini-disaster that happened was we had picked out a tunic/robe thing that we thought would fit her perfect, but it didn't. We actually didn't even have anything that she could have used. Thankfully someone from the ward had something at her house that we ended up using. I also baptized her, as she requested, so that was kinda cool. In the evening, my comp and I ordered pizza to kinda celebrate.

Wednesday,

Today we had another lesson with Filia, who keeps filling us with hope about how she'll come to church and get baptized and everything. She was pretty promising again today, saying stuff like 'when I come to church on Sunday, I feel like God will tell me that this is the true church' and 'I must have stopped going to that other church for a reason' and 'I feel such peace her, I think this is the church for me'. We had the lesson in the church and we showed her the baptismal font and everything, with the hope that it'd help her. When she said that we could go with her to the church, it kinda surprised me, but I certainly wasn't complaining. We've started to play soccer Wednesday night, and so we had that again today with a bunch of church and neighborhood kids. It was also sadly my last one, but I played really well so that was good.

Thursday,

Today my comp and I had a lesson with Juan, who's the investigator we have who's come to church the last couple of weeks. They've been kinda pushing that we get him baptized this Saturday (two days) as he's already started going to church and really nothing is impeding him other than just teaching him the commandments he'll have to accept and then do it. So today we planned to explain a little about baptism and everything. At the end of explaining it, he agreed to do so. He also agreed to get baptized on Saturday. So, we started teaching him some of the commandments, starting with the law of chastity (which for those who don't know, deals with the reserving sexual relationships until after marriage, and then being faithful to that person after getting married), which is a requirement for baptism. Well, he didn't accept it. He's like a 60 year old man who's single (his marriage ended in divorce and he has another kid with an ex-girlfriend), and he said that it'd be something he's not willing to accept right now. It was a crusher. He's like 'well, I guess I can't get baptized then'. Really, he said, 'Well, I guess being able to break the law of chastity is more important to me than getting baptized'. He said the closing prayer and he basically apologized for his imperfections and said he does his best. I feel like he'll accept it with time and will get baptized in the near future.

Friday,

Today we were going to have our weekly correlation meeting with our ward mission leader, but, he didn't show up. It is such a waste of time going to the church almost every week because he says he'll go but never does. Whatever. Today we were also at the church waiting for an investigator to show up. There were some ladies there from the ward who are in the choir practising. At one point one came outside and asked (my comp and I were waiting outside), 'do either of you play the piano?' My comp said no I and said something like 'not good enough'. After a while she came back out and asked if I could still try to help them out anyways. I don't remember how good I was before the mission, but I've gotten to the point where I can play the melody (top note) of most hymns with occasional errors. Well, apparently that was good enough, so I got to practise the piano, helping the ladies find the melody. They thanked me after and said how they'd give us lunch some day for the help (little did they know I was leaving in less than a week), but I appreciated the gesture and was glad that I was able to help a little.

Saturday,

Today my comp and I were just walking around and this one guy in a group of people yelled at us from a bus stop after we had passed it. Generally people do that to try to make us look stupid and make fun of us in front of other people, so we turned around, told him we were in a hurry, and kept walking. Well, most of the people at the stop crossed the street as the bus was coming down the street (to get on), and so since he was pretty much left alone and he yelled at us again, we went to him. He kinda was upset how we were just going to keep walking, but after a short conversation he promised to go to church the next day.

Sunday,

Today was my last Sunday in Uruguay. I mentioned a couple people who said that they would go (Filia and the guy from Saturday), but neither of them did. We did have five other people though, which is great. There was a couple I've mentioned (Florencio and Nieves), Juan (guy from Thursday), David (Shirley's 8 year old kid), and a girl whose family is starting to come back to church but since she lives with her grandparents she never got baptized or has gone before. Also, since I didn't have time last week to give my talk, they told me I'd be able to do so this week. Well, just my luck the two speakers went on and on and on and I was just sitting there waiting for them to end, wondering if they were going to let me speak. They did give me a bit of time, but we were already basically over time, so I gave a really abridged version, mostly addressed to the young men encouraging them to go on missions (it was going to be on missionary work in general with different parts directed to different people). They also invited me to speak in the young men's class after, which I did. I basically expounded on what I already had said in my talk. I also gave each of the young men (like 11 of them) a tie. They were the 75 cent ones that I bought at the start of my mission haha.

Monday,

Since this week are 'changes', our PDay is on Tuesday. Today I basically went around and said bye to a lot of people. It was really sad. It's really sad ending the mission. Everyone expects me to just be jumping with joy for finally having finished, but it's not like that at all. I think it's because people don't realize how great the mission is. I am really excited to see everyone again (I'm trying to focus on that), but it's just sad knowing that this stage of my life is over. I said bye to the Morreira family, Shirley, Juan, and Juan and Susy (I've mentioned all of them quite a few times over the last couple weeks). These last couple days I also decided to drink mate, the cultural drink that they don't let us drink as missionaries. It's basically a tea, although made with some other plant. I think it's really only common in Uruguay and Argentina. Everyone drinks it. Anyways, to me it basically tastes like hay, or like how dad used to smell coming home from the hay plant where they made alfalfa pellets haha.

Tuesday,

Today is my last day here in Mercedes. My comp and I got our haircuts in the morning and now we're at the cyber. After eating lunch we'll be going to centro and I'll do some more souvenir shopping. I'll take the evening to pack. I don't want to visit anyone anymore. I basically said bye to everyone I wanted to and I just want to get it over with. It's like peeling a bandaid off reeeeeeeeeeeallly slowly. I'm also going to have to get rid of a lot of stuff, so we'll see how I prioritize my possessions. I take a bus at 3:40 in the morning for Montevideo where I'll spend Wednesday and Thursday.

Anyways, that is my LAST EMAIL. Thanks for everything you've done for me while I've been on the mission, I really appreciate it. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone on Friday!

Love you,

Elder Fikus

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Letter #105 - January 23, 2012

Hey Mom,

Thanks for the letter, here's my update of the week,

Monday,

Today after our free time, my comp and I went to the family who invited us over on new years to have a family home evening with them. The dad of the family his super good, but his wife is a little more reluctant to go to church and the teenage kids have slowly drifted away to a more worldly lifestyle. For the lesson, we read the Family Proclamation for the World. (http://lds.org/family/proclamation?lang=eng). It went really good. Hopefully the family can start to come back.

Tuesday,

Today my comp and I had district meeting in the morning. I have been trying to get a hold on some good Uruguayan flags for the last little while (there's so many fake and sucky versions). Anyways, after finding a place in Montevideo and talking to some Elders there, I got my flags today that they had sent to me. So, I got another souvenir for dad and I. Today in the evening we also played soccer with the Francia family, who we play soccer with every once in a while. It's pretty fun, although they play really good haha.

Wednesday,

Today in the morning, we had our interviews with President. He came to Mercedes today, and every companionship went a pre-determined hour to have a short interview with him. Since it only happens every three months or so, my last one was with him today. We basically just talked about what I thought of the mission, my family, plans for after, and stuff like that. It was really good, I enjoyed the interview. Sometimes they're really impersonal and stuff, but this one was good. Today in the evening we also had a lesson with Alejandro, (baptized over a month ago and still not confirmed). We went to his house, even though his crazy grandpa doesn't want us there and dragged him to the church. He tried making excuses and stuff, but we weren't going to let him go this time. We had a really direct lesson with him, considering he hasn't come to church the last like five Sundays. We also suspected that he'd relapsed or fallen in something, considering we knew there was an issue brought up during the interview. We actually know what it was, but I can't really say. Anyways, we gave him lots of opportunities to confess and talk, but he just basically said he really didn't know he had a commitment with God and just didn't go to church because he didn't wake up because he didn't feel like it and stuff. Hm. Not good.

Thursday,

Today we had a baptisimal interview for one of our investigators Shirley, who was going to get baptized on Friday. She's had a really hard time quitting smoking, but she passed the interview anyways. Afterwards, my comp and I went to Jhonathan, the teenage investigator that we have to finish teaching him the restoration. We finally managed to have a spiritual lesson with him, which was a miracle. Hopefully we can keep having good lessons like that with him.

Friday,

Today, basically everything was focused around that baptism tonight of Shirley. In the morning we cleaned the font (someone was kind enough to leave water in there for weeks which made it start to smell horrible), and got the whole clothes situation figured out. After lunch, our really good investigator, Juan, called us to see if we could come over so we did. After that we went to the church to start to fill up the font and then we went to Shirley's to show her the potential clothes we found. While there, it got brought up that she had somewhat recently smoked a cigarette. Anyways, we left, and then talked about it. We ended up calling a couple people, and then went back to Shirley, mentioning the possibility of postponing her baptism. It was really hard to do, and it's hard to do carefully so the person doesn't get super down and discouraged. Anyways, we ended up postponing the baptism. We sent a text to all the members and got back to the church quickly to drain the font, which by that point was almost overflowing haha. So yeah, that was a super bummer.

Saturday,

Today my comp and I ate lunch with this one guy in the ward who I think is pretty cool. Today he talked a ton about the American elections which are going on. Mitt Romney, who's LDS, is in it again and last I heard doing a lot better. I believe he's one of the top four potential Republican leaders (which would put him against Obama). Anyways, he talked a lot about that, which I found interesting. After lunch we went to a member's house to do service. They're building what sounds like a greenhouse from how they described it, but to me it looks like it's going to be a huge wooden shed (like Grandpa Larson has on his farm). So we helped put some of the pillars into the ground. I enjoyed it, and members really appreciate when we do service for them. After that we went to Shirley's, to set her new baptisimal date. Since she can't get baptized next weekend, basically the only day that she could do it while I'll still be in Uruguay would be Tuesday. Since that was really the only logical option (rather than waiting two weeks), we set it for Tuesday. So, we postponed her Friday baptism for like four days later for the Tuesday haha.

Sunday,

Today in church, they announced Shirley's baptism, again. Our Bishop didn't know we were gonna have it on Tuesday, but I told the 1st Councilor who was doing the announcements. When he announced Tuesday, the Bishop (who was looking down at some paper or something) looked up and mouthed 'MARTES?!' (Tuesday). I said 'Sí' (yes). He said 'No' (no, haha). But, knowing that he actually has no jurisdiction over that, couldn't do anything but certainly didn't approve. He asked about it later, but I explained to him (and he understood) that Tuesday obviously wasn't our first pick either and that if there were a better day, we would have done it then. Today we also did our week planning (didn't have time on Friday), and had a ward correlation meeting.

Monday,

Today in the morning my comp and I went into Centro as I wanted to buy a bunch of souveniers. I did pretty good, although it's really only a start. I have waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much stuff (clothes, books, study books and journals, personal items, etc.). And I have lots of souvenirs to buy. After that we came back and ate lunch with Juan and Susi, who's the super old nice couple that we have (he recentlyish got baptized). After eating we played a bit of cards, and then we came to the cyber where I am now.

Alright, well that's all that I got time for this week. Your next email will be your last one, and I just have one more to write back to it. So weird!

See ya soon, love you,

Elder Fikus

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Letter #104 - January 16, 2012

Hey Mom,

Here's my weekly update,

Tuesday,

Today we had our district meeting, and in the bolsa today I got what are called my 'super trunky papers'. It was a big envelope that included: My flight times, a list of things to do before ending, a schedule of my last two days in Montevideo, papers to write my goals and experiences on, and the book 'Pursuit of Excelence' for goal setting after the mission. It was crazy to think that I've already got those. Afterwards, my comp and I did divisions with some other elders. I stayed where we're at and did divisions with an Elder Chamberlain from California. Something I learned about him that was pretty cool was he's kinda a hacker (good one) / programmer type guy, and he even made an app on the iStore. It's a game called Grids. What blew my mind most is that he's made a mini-fortune off it. When you sell something on the iStore, you get like 70 cents of the dollar. Considering he's sold like 300,000+ copies of the game... well, you do the math. It got me thinking haha. Today we also found a guy while working. He was just outside, working on some grill thing to cook an asado on. We came up and talked to him, and he was totally not interested whatsoever but he let us in for some reason. We kinda helped to him and talked to him anyways. Also, today I had a pretty crazy discovery. So I had gotten all these red bug bites on my feet starting like a week ago or so. I just assumed they were mosquito bites as we always got a ton of them flying around (we have to sleep with the window open but we use a fan). Anyways, these bites became pretty frequent, started on my hands, and eventually started running up my feet and hands to my elbows and knees. Okay, I wasn't freaking covered like I just made it sound like but I had enough to know they weren't mosquito bites. Anyways, I called the mission nurse and she figured I had bed bugs. Go figure. So today I left my mattress out on our appartment roof (cooks them and kills them) and washed my sheets. As of now (nearly a week later), it seems to have worked. While I still have the bites from before, they're going away and I don't seem to have new ones. Not sure how I feel about the whole thing haha.

Wednesday,

Today my comp and I were in the house of a member and we're kinda teaching his non-member friend. Both of them are like 15, but there's a bunch of other kids that are sometimes with them. Today there was a particularily large amount of kids. It's almost impossible to have a spiritual lesson, but we're usually able to transmit at least something. The mom is also a member and she's really nice but just usually leaves us alone to talk to the kids. Anyways today it was slightly more difficult to have a spiritual lesson thanks to all the kids, but thankfully near the end the mom came in and told everyone they needed to be quiet and respectful and listen and that what we were talking about wasn't some big joke. See, this is where I don't know how to say it in English, but the translation of the Spanish phrase used here is she 'dropped the cane' on everyone. So that was nice, hopefully we'll start to be able to have better lessons.

Thursday,

Today not much happened, although at one point in the day my comp and I were at our crazy member's house, Alejandra (the one who's like 32 but gets crushes on and hits on missionaries). Her mom was there, so we tried talking to her. It was a super casual conversation, but she straight up got up and left to go do an errand. It totally sucked. Her mom was a member too, her daughter is, and she's gone to church a million times. I guess she's not interested haha.

Friday,

Today we correlation with our ward mission leader. We call him every Thursday to set it up, but for some reason he decides to never come anymore, and it's been several weeks since he's actually shown up. Well today he gave me the surprise and showed up. It's this crazy old guy who's super funny, although I don't think he tries to be (laugh at him vs laugh with him, although I guess I usually laugh with him because I'm laughing at him). So the first funny thing he said was how as he's getting older, he's basically doing less and less of what he should. I doubt he's doing anything serious, but it sounds like he's racking up some pretty good sins of omission. Not only has he stopped doing his home teaching, but he's certainly not magnifying his calling and all this stuff. Best part? He thinks it's hilarious and just laughs about it haha. The other funny thing he said is that he sometimes sets up our meeting with the intention of going, or sometimes just decides not to in the moment knowing that we'll go to the church, wait for him, and just leave. He figured it was a blessing that we'd be able to wait in a cool church (since it's really hot here) for a little and sit down while we waited for him. I said it'd be like that if we sometimes didn't have to walk half an hour to and from the church in the blazing heat for a total inconvenience. I stumped him, I suppose he never thought of it like that. Today we also managed to call Alejandro (who's still not confirmed) telling him to go to the church. He said he would, but didn't show up. Dangit. We also went to the Bishop since we heard he wasn't doing great a few days ago but hadn't bothered to go but we needed to update him on some stuff and I think he appreciated the visit. We also had a lesson with Juan, who's becoming a super good investigator. He liked church, said he'd go this week, read a ton of stuff he got there and everything. He's progressing great.

Saturday,

Today my comp and I went to this house in the morning of a family that I mentioned probably last week. We went to teach this unmarried couple, but found the guy's girlfriend and mom. Well today we found the guy and his mom. Turns out they split up a few days ago. It's interesting how that happens. The missionaries tried getting these people married like a little over a year ago, but they didn't want to. It's not the first time that I've seen where when people don't want to, it's only a small matter of time before they actually split up. Kinda sad, especially considering they have young kids.

Sunday,

Today we had a pretty promising group of investigators who I thought would show up to church. We ended up with three, which is better than nothing but a lot more really wasn't that unrealistic. Something super funny today is that in Sacrament meeting they announced the baptism that we're gonna have this Friday. The lady, Shirley, hates public attention, and mentioned how, for example, this one time they forgot to take off a tag in some store and when she was leaving it sounded the alarm and how she got super embarrassed and furious. Well today when they announced her baptism, they asked her to stand up (so everyone could see her). Since she was near the back of the congregation (I was sitting right behind her), the 80 or so people in front of her all turned around at the same time and looked at her. I was kinda laughing to myself cuz I just know she wanted to die haha. In the evening we only had a couple lessons with some inactive families.

Alright, well that's it from me, thanks for everything. I only have two emails left haha (and the last one will be a few days before leaving).

Love you,

Elder Fikus

Letter #103 - January 9, 2012

Hey Mom,

This is what happened during the week,

Tuesday,

Today my comp and I went back to this guy named Juan who we had found the week before. Today we talked about the Atonement, as this guy has a lot of problems in his life and says that he doesn't have peace or tranquility. It was a really powerful lesson, he even cried during it. We also had a pretty interesting lesson with Shirley, and I'm really starting to understand just how hard it is for her that her son passed away. She talked a little bit about it, and even a dream that she had that she found out he was okay in. I won't really go into details here but it was interesting to hear this dream that she had.

Wednesday,

Today I went off and did divisions with other missionaries in our zone. I had to take a 30 minute bus to a close city to do divisions with Elder Morris, one of my leaders. In the CCM in Argentina I really liked Elder Morris, and actually even helped him out a bit. Anyways, I've always considered him to be one of my better friends who was never my comp. Anyways at night after working for the day, we were talking. We were talking about the mission, President, and just a lot of general stuff like that. I started talking about me, and how I haven't been as obedient as I should have been these last two changes as I'm ending the mission and I'm not in a leadership position anymore and what not. He helped me see that I don't want to end the mission like that and all this stuff. Anyways, the conversation went to the obedience of other missionaries. I mentioned one day where a group was on Youtube in the cyber. Eventually I named people just so that he would know, but then he told me how he'd have to call President and whatnot. Not really what I planned on happening.

Thursday,

Today, after coming back to my area, Elder Morris called me and told me that President was going to call some of the Elders from that day in the cyber. Basically, everyone was going to find out pretty specifically what happened. It wasn't like 'just so you know' or anything, but straight up 'President found out because someone told him about this and that'. Dangit. To explain what happened during the rest of the week (as I won't go back to this), basically President called a couple Elders. They probably weren't too happy with me (although they can't blame anyone but themselves for what they did), tons of missionaries through the mission found out who did what and that I told. Like freak, that's not what I wanted to happen at all. So, I think I became somewhat famous haha. Whatever. Today we also had another lesson with Shirley. We talked a little bit about agency, and making decisions to get what we want to out of life. Also, after teaching her for months and months, she finally accepted to get baptized! Wooooohoooooo. Like it's taken forever, I'm really surprised that we stayed with her as long as we did. I really think that she'll do it though, because these last like two months, all she's said is the only thing that she has to do is just say that she'll do it and she will. She's a pretty stubborn person so I'm pretty sure I'll do it.

Friday,

Today my comp and I were eating lunch with this family, and since we had a bit of time, my comp asked if they wanted to play cards. The family had quite a few teenage kids, so we thought it'd be fun. Anyways, the mom asked us if we wanted to play 'Conga' which is a pretty common game down here. I think I've mentioned it before. Anyways, she and one of her daughters ended playing with just my companion and I. It was kinda funny because before the game she was talking about how she's won some prestigious tournament and whatnot, and how we didn't know how to play. Anyways, my comp basically stomped trash, just embarrassing her and I. It shut her up. However, I learned some new rules that I hadn't heard of before. One, since the 8s and 9s are taken out (Spanish games don't often use them, I have no idea why), a 7-10-11 is considered a run. Go figure. Two, if you lay out your hand before someone else has looked at their cards, instead of winning you actually lose (I did this and the teenager hadn't seen her hand because she was helping her younger brother or something). Go figure. And lastly (and most ridiculous), you can't shuffel the deck how we all do it (in the Larson family, the standard, better way that mixes the cards), because it mixes the cards too well, which makes it harder for you to get plays. Go figure. Also, according to her, there's a number of card games that are banned here in Uruguay, because, according to her, you just gamble a lot in those games and people have lost everything. Probably the stupidest thing I've ever heard. As if the amount that you gamble is related to the card game.

Saturday,

Today my comp and I went to this person who we've been trying and trying to find. It's someone who listened to missionaries before, and even went to church a few times. Today, when we went to her house, she, as always, wasn't there. However, my comp decided to go and talk to these two women who were outside a nearish house, which we did. Turns out, we found the lady we were looking for. She moved just around the corner from the direction that we had, and today we finally finally found her. Just a little miracle. Today we also finally found Alejandro, the guy who got baptized like three weeks ago who's still not confirmed. It really annoys his grumpy old grandpa when we go over, but I swear that Alejandro works 8 hours a day and sleeps 16 (total of 24). Well, he said that he'd be going to church on Sunday, but the crazy old grandpa told us not to come back (again) because it was a lack of respect that we went by and blah blah blah. Hmm.

Sunday,

Today in the morning my comp and I went out to look for investigators to bring them to church. I had planned it all through the week how I wanted to have a lot of people in church, and, it paid off. Today my comp and I had a total of 6 investigators in church, which is probably one of the highest that I've had in my mission thus far (8 is my record). However, Alejandro didn't go for whatever reason, so he's still not confirmed. Dangit. Today was also my last fast and testimony meeting in church here in Uruguay. Our church starts at 9:30 here, but everywhere I've ever lived and been, it always starts on the hour. So I was sitting there, procrastinating bearing my testimony until about 10:25 when I decided for whatever reason to just go and sit up on the stand. Luckily I did, as the conductor almost cut me off, but he let me share my testimony to end. I was totally surprised that I forgot that the meeting was about to end. I thought I had another half hour and I almost didn't go up when I did. I'm really glad I did though or I really would have been angry at myself. Today for work my comp and I went to Juan and Susy's and they gave us a bit of food and we talked for a good while. He recentlyish got baptized and we really haven't seen them very much as he's been working a ton.

Monday,

Today in the morning my comp and I had to go to the church, and we had a little meeting in the morning. After that, my comp and I went to what's called 'The Rambla' which is basically just the river that runs by the town. There's lots of parks and stuff on it. We just took a couple pictures of the scenery, and then came back to where our house is to eat lunch with Juan and Susy. They made us an asado, which they wanted to do before I ended the mission. It was really good. After that, we just came to the cyber, where I am now.

Alright, that's all I got time for. Thanks for everything,

Love you,

Elder Fikus

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Letter #102 - January 2, 2012

Hey Mom,

Well, this is what happened this week,

Tuesday,

Today we had our district meeting in the morning. Today, all the Elders here in Mercedes received a cell phone. So, now we have a cell phone. It's not that weird this time, as I had one when I was in Vichadero (like last year). It's a bit of a newer model, but it's still pretty limited (no camera, internet, etc.), which is probably a good thing.

Wednesday,

Today we went to Jacquelin, who we've been working with for quite a while. I feel like we're losing her. She's really not doing her part and has really started to doubt. Really sucks. Today we also had soccer at the church at night. We were invited and were told to bring a couple investigators. We had a couple, so that was really cool. There's this kid named Jhonothan who's a friend of this member kid who came. I think I've mentioned them before. Anyways, they came so that was good. We also did a tour of the chapel before playing with all the kids there, so they got to see inside it.

Thursday,

Today in the morning we went to this house where an ex-investigator couple lives. Just the woman and her mom were there (the guy was sleeping). It was pretty cool because I guess a lot of missionaries had come by over time, and the mom said that she never really participated much before. This time, she totally opened with us, and even offered to say the closing prayer when I asked her to invite someone to do it. We also found a really cool couple today. They live way out of the city and we just went to them after lunch. It's a slightly older couple who're Catholic, but somewhat open and really nice. The woman really loves MOTAB (Mormon Tabernacle Choir), and even went to the temple in Montevideo to buy some of their music. So, that was pretty cool.

Friday,

Today we went by this one lady who we've seen every once in a while, and she said a couple things today that were pretty exciting. The first was that she's been baptized a ton and thinks that there's nothing wrong with being baptized again (we tried to explain the qualifications to do an authorized and acceptable baptism). The second was that she decided that she doesn't like the current Evangelical church that she's going to. Yes, hopefully that she changes to ours haha. We also had a really good first lesson with this guy in the night. We caught him leaving the house a few days ago and today went to him. His main question was why bad things seem to always happen to good people. It seems to be a question that a lot of people have. He even knows a good member in our ward pretty well, and said that he had talked to him a few days before.

Saturday,

Well, today was Hayley's birthday. Today in one of our lessons, we were talking with this guy who was always kinda rude to us, and just his wife listened to us. Well today he also opened up to us quite a bit, telling us that he had listened to missionaries before and had even gone to church and stuff a few years ago. I wasn't expecting that. Today was also the 31st, so like on the 25th they let us stay out a little bit later again. They basically have the same celebration as they do the night of the 24th. Everyone gathers together (family, friends), and hangs out outside listening to music and talking. Most families barbecue something (a lamb or pig are best, but also chicken or beef) and eat really late at night. At midnight, everyone sets off a lot of fireworks. It's basically exactly the same as for Christmas. My comp and I lucked out this weekend too and ate lamb (and all the accompanying salads and whatnot) with another family. This family is actually currently inactive, but they're really not that far. It was really nice of them to invite us. We had to leave still kinda early (10:30) and we just waited in the house until midnight to watch the fireworks from our roof again. Something also pretty cool is that there's this missionary who ended the mission like a year ago who recently came back with his dad to go around and visit everyone. He came to the same family that we were eating dinner with at night, so I talked to him for a bit. He's a super cool missionary, and we talked for a bit. I was pretty happy that I got to see him (as I knew that he'd be passing through the city I'm in).

Sunday,

Today in the morning we had church. Since everyone stayed up super late last night, we didn't have any investigators in church. Our attendance was also quite a bit lower, and most people showed up late. Today the family that we ate dinner with invited us over for lunch again and we ate leftovers. Lamb is super good. Today we also had a lesson with this lady named Andrea. Up until now, her mom has been kinda a pain, but today we actually spent quite a while teaching her and talking to her. Hopefully she starts to help a little more now.

Monday,

Today in the morning I went and got my haircut. I figured I'd get one today, and then one just before ending the mission haha. After that, we played soccer at the church. My team sucked, so I basically had to do everything. We even had an extra player and we still lost most of our games. After that we came back to the house, ate, showered, and came to the cyber.

Love you,

Elder Fikus

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Letter #101 - December 26, 2011

Hey Mom,

Well, I talked to you guys yesterday and everything, but here's the weekly update,

Monday,

Today we had this super funny lesson I guess with these two kids in our ward (they have a friend who we're teaching). One of the kids, who's 13 was on Facebook, and he decided how he had a crush on some girl that goes to church. She was also online, so he was kinda flirting with her and everything and then asked her out, which she agreed to if she kept it a secret. I was like dying laughing just how it all went out. We also got to have supper with Juan and Susy, which we used to do a lot more but he's had to work a lot lately. He's had a bit of a break for Christmas, so it was nice to get back into the swing of things with them.

Tuesday,

Today was PDay of the week, as it was the last one for changes. I'm staying together with the same companion though, so nothing changed here. We basically wasted the whole day as the missionaries here in Mercedes decided to eat lunch together. We did homemade pizzas, which between waiting for everyone, going grocery shopping, cooking, and eating took basically the whole day. We did get to do a bit of service for our Bishop in the afternoon though. He had a bunch of books and manuals and stuff ordered to his house which we helped him bring to the chapel.

Wednesday,

Nothing good happened today haha.

Thursday,

Today we had district meeting in the morning. It was the first one of my last change (6 weeks). We played a game to get to know each other for all the new people that came in, and that was pretty much it. I also got my Advent Calender and Conference Ensign today. Today we also had a lesson with Natalia that I think went pretty good. I asked her if she had considered taking her kids to church, and what she wanted for them. It went well, and I think it got her thinking.

Friday,

Today we had lunch in the house, and we decided to make tacos. They were soooo good. I haven't even used all the taco seasoning that I brought with me on the mission, although I'm not sure how haha. We had a pretty interesting lesson with Alejandro (guy who got baptized recently) today. We were just teaching him and everything, and after a little while his grandpa (who he lives with) came in and asked if we were going to be much longer. We weren't, so I said no. Anyways, we were just wrapping out and about to leave when the grandpa came back into the room like 10 minutes later and told us to leave and never to come back, how he would call the cops if we didn't and then muttered how we had been there three hours to try to justify himself (we were getting close to one). It was totally without warning and definitely not expected. I think he just wanted to watch tv, as we were in the house since it was raining. If he decides to be prideful and stubborn, it may complicate things for us as we won't really be able to teach our recent baptism.

Saturday,

Today was Christmas Eve, and a good day. We just planned in the morning and finished after lunch and a couple lessons. After that I called home, which was really nice. It makes me realize that not that much has changed, and that I'm really not that far away. Since it's always a huge deal to eat a BBQ on Christmas Eve, this one family invited us over to eat supper with them. They barbequed an entire lamb, and had a couple salads to go with it. It was really good. At midnight, everyone sets off a ton of fireworks, so my comp and I climbed onto our roof (we live on the fourth and last story of our apartament building) to watch them. I got some pretty good videos.

Sunday,

Today was Christmas, and today we started off the morning by going to church. After that, a member family invited us over to each lunch, so we went over there and stayed for a few hours to play cards with them. After that my comp called home, and then we went to Juan and Susy's to eat supper with them. After that, I called home again, this time talking to my dad's side of the family. It was good to talk to all of them too.

Monday,

Today has been our PDay, and for Christmas they decided to let us watch Kung Fu Panda 2 together here. So, all of us met together at the church to watch it. To make a long story short, a lack of leadership, decision making, and rationalization combined with an honest mistake made it take like three hours longer to start than it should have. That made us late for lunch (the place we order from was already closed until the evening), and then the cyber. Sigh... It was good though overall. We're just at the cyber now.

Alright, well thanks for the update about everyone. I know that you just talked to me but it's still nice to get an email. Besides, you only have like five left to write, and you haven't missed one yet. It was good talking to you (and everyone).

Love you,

Elder Fikus

Letter #100 - December 20, 2011

Hey Mom,

Well, I always have a list that I make of things that I want to talk about in my letter. However, I lost it at some point today, and now I have absolutely no idea of what to say. However, I'll come up with something, although it'll be a different style for sure.

Well, this week was pretty normal, as far as lessons and investigators go. The highlight of the week was that we had a baptism. Alejandro, the friend of one of our good members got baptized on Sunday. It was actually a little bit complicated, as we hadn't told our Bishop until Saturday night (big mistake), who not only doesn't like Sunday baptisms but didn't even ever really get to know the guy. The reason we had it on Sunday was because it was the day that Alejandro said that he wanted to get baptized on, and it was supposed to give him one more assistance in church. The sucky thing was he couldn't even go to church in the morning the day of his baptism, as he had to work. However, the baptism and everything went fine. We filled up the font perfectly and everything. There was about 20 people who showed up, so that was pretty good. This week were also changes, but my comp and I are both staying. That's why I'm writing my letter on Tuesday instead of Monday. So, I'm currently in my last change, with my last companion where I'm going to end the mission. It's pretty crazy to think about, the time's going quick. If there's anything significant that I forgot to write about that happened during the week, I'll tell you on my phone call at Christmas.

To your letter,

Chicken milanesas are the fried coated chicken breasts. Guaraná is the pop in Brazil. Those drink packets that I gave you were guaraná flavored.

Well, that might be it for this week.

Talk to you soon, love you,

Elder Fikus

Sent a day later....

Hey Mom,

Well, I have a tiny bit of time, so I’ll update you on some of the things that happened during the week.

Monday,

Today we had a FHE with our first councilor. He invited us, and I was hoping that there’d be someone who wasn’t a member or active there, but they all were. It was still nice to have a bit of time with some members. He lives really far away though, so we got home kinda late haha.

Tuesday,

Today we had a lesson where we refound this exinvestigator family. They had gone to church a ton before, but never got baptized because they weren’t (and still aren’t) married. We’re gonna see if we can help them do that now though. Today we also had a good lesson with Shirley, who we’re starting to teach a little better. She’s gone to church three times, but we’re trying to have better lessons with her as she wants to just talk with us for the whole time that we’re there.

Wednesday,

Today we had to go pay our rent, so while we were in centro I sent off a letter that I wrote. I wrote Richelle and her family and the primary back. They should get them before I get home haha. Today something really funny happened when we went to the house of a guy who’s about our age but inactive. He wasn’t there, but as we were having the lesson outside, his ‘girlfriend’ showed up on a moto. I didn’t get a good initial look, as my back was turned, but my comp sometime through the lesson was like ‘that was a guy’. When (s)he left the house, I got a better look at this ‘girlfriend’. Yup, definitely a guy. The square jaw, deep voice, body proportions and very subtle closely shaven beard. Freak. I don’t know how he wouldn’t know (the guy going out with it), but that’s kinda weird. We also had a FHE scheduled with an active lady and her sister and cousin, who aren’t members. It would have been our second one, but the sister and cousin weren’t there. However, we stayed and talked with the member for a bit. Turns out she’s crazy, thinking that she’s the most desired thing by all of the missionaries. She’s like 32 or something. She acts like she’s in highschool with all the missionaries, and it’s kinda weird. There’s also an interesting triangle between her and two other woman. They all feed off missionary attention, are jealous, catty, and slightly crazy. There’s also a ton of criticism between the three, and today I finally heard everything from the last person’s point of view. It’s been pretty interesting hearing the three all talk about each other, certainly entertaining.

Thursday,

Nothing.

Friday,

Nothing.

Saturday,

Today in the morning we had a lesson with Paola, who has gone to church a couple times and just hasn’t gotten baptized because she’s not married. Today we finally had a good lesson with her and her husband. I don’t know if they’ll be getting married in the near future. After the lesson, we were going to be late for lunch, so they offered to take us on their motos. Ruben (the chick’s boyfriend) and her brother each have a moto and they took us to where we had lunch today. We didn’t have helmets, and I probably should have declined, but it took me a while to clue into what was going on and it was actually pretty fun too. Also, today was E’ Smith’s last day in the mission, as he went home a change earlier to go to school in January. So, I called him in the night and talked to him for a little bit. It’s so weird to think that he’s already gone home.

Love you,

Elder Fikus

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Letter #99 - December 12, 2011

Hey Mom,

Here's what's happened during my week,

Monday,

Today after our PDay, we went to the church to help clean it. Our Bishop had asked us to help, which I wasn't too thrilled about considering I don't really think it's our job. However, it ended up being not nearly as bad as I thought, and it was a good chance to improve our relationship with our Bishop. We basically just swept and mopped all the floors after putting up all the chairs. He also gave us food after =)

Tuesday,

Today we didn't have our district meeting, as we had a special zone conference on Thursday (which I'll talk about). One of our lessons today was with Alejandro, the guy who came to church last Sunday. Today we taught him about baptism, and he accepted to do it! We talked about the potential days that he could get baptized, and he chose next Sunday. That gives us like 10 days to make sure he knows everything and is willing to commit to everything. I hope he makes it.

Wednesday,

Today was a little bit different as I did divisions today with Elder Morris. He's a group younger than me, so he got to the CCM when I was about to leave. I haven't seen him very much since starting the mission. Today he came into Mercedes (as he's in another town) to set up a little bit for Zone Conference. We set up the church, making sure everything was good, and we also had to go do a couple other errands. Almost nobody was home today when we tried to have lessons, so that was kinda a bummer, but in the evening we played soccer again with this family that's starting to come back to church. E' Morris played soccer on some University team, so he's pretty good. It was a lot of fun. Tonight President Heaton, his wife, and the two assistants showed up while we were playing soccer (at the church), so we helped them out for a bit unloading stuff that they had. President always goes out to dinner, and Elder Morris and I were hoping that he'd take us with the APs (most common), but one of the APs (assistants to the President), Elder Price, started the mission in my area and they had left to go visit converts so President and the H'na went out with this Stake President (who Pres Heaton had a meeting with) and his wife. So, I just missed out on dinner haha. Also, the APs stayed at our house, so that was kinda cool, sleeping on old blankets, towels, and unfolded cardboard boxes. It didn't look super comfortable but we didn't have anything else and they said they do it all the time haha.

Thursday,

Today was zone conference, so all the missionaries from the Stake of Mercedes and Paysandú (including Elder Bryant, my last comp), came to Mercedes for it. There was 40 of us in total. The theme of the conference was becoming more like the Savior. There was some power point presentations and we used the scriptures and stuff, and it was all really good. It was really spiritual. Lunch was also good. It was chicken milanesa sandwiches, ice cream for dessert, and pop. There was guaraná, which I hadn't had in quite a while, so that was really good. After lunch, Pres Heaton dressed up like Santa Clause and all the missionaries went and sat on his lap (the sister missionaries got to sit on a chair beside him haha) and got a treatbag from him haha. Something else that they do at Zone Conferences is make all the missionaries who are starting and ending their missions share their testimonies. So all the missionaries who are at their first or last zone conference get to share theirs. Since zone conferences are every two changes now, and I only have one change left, I was one of the missionaries who got to give his 'farewell' testimony. I talked a little bit about how I remember my first testimony that I gave when I was new, how I'll really miss being a missionary after going home, some things that I've learned over the mission, my actual testimony, and a little advice for all the people who have lots of time left. I cried, of course, but I managed to keep it under control thankfully. That was basically it for the conference. After it, our zone did a white elephant gift exchange, with a limit of $5. For my gift I hid a chocolate bar and nougat bar in the box and put a fake 1000 peso ($50) bill over it. I hid the actual gift by placing the goodies at the bottom, and then cutting out pieces from another box to duplicate the bottom, covering the gift. I thought it was pretty clever, and I think it worked well. I ended up with Pringles and an alfajore, which was probably one of the better gifts. Zone Conference was awesome, it was really spiritual and a lot of fun.

Friday,

Today, almost nothing exciting happened other than planning. The only interestingish thing to say is that I saved a kitten out of a tree, which I didn't even have to climb to get for a person.

Saturday,

Today we had a pretty interesting lesson with someone. So I'm sure I've mentioned Jacquelin, who's been taught a ton, but isn't married and has gone back to another church where she's stayed for the past year. On Wednesday we went to her and she said that she wasn't interested in continuing to listen to us. However, I gave her some stuff to read, and told her to consider it. Today we went back to her, and she once again told us that she didn't want to keep going. I got her talking a bit, and she explained some of her doubts and problems, which we started explaining. In the middle of a somewhat longer explanation, I asked if we could just come inside, which she accepted. I was sooooo happy. I'm almost certain that she won't get baptized with me here, but I just don't want to lose her to this other church. We had a good lesson with her. She SO knows that we're right, I'm not sure why she won't just accept it. Today we also had a lesson with Shirley and Natalia, inviting them to church tomorrow. They've come quite a few times, but it's not looking so good as far as baptism goes.

Sunday,

Today was Stake Conference, so the Temple President and his wife, and President Heaton and his wife, came up here, so that was pretty cool. We had two investigators in church, Alejandro, and one other guy. We sat waaaaaay in the back, so we couldn't hardly hear anything. Thankfully there was air conditioning and fans though. It was really good, and there was a ton of people. Afterwards, my comp and I managed to stick around long enough afterwards that Pres and Hna Heaton gave us a ride back to our house in their vehicle, and Pres did a mini-house check (thankfully I'm a clean person), and talked with us for a little. He's such a good guy, it's really nice being around him. Today for lessons we had one with this inactive family, who's actually sealed in the temple, who our Bishop wanted us to go by. It was pretty cool that we went by today, as today was the last day that the dad in the family was there. He's going to Haiti to do a peace mission, and today was his last day home. That's not the first time in the mission that I've found someone on their last day home. I told his wife and kids to write a note for him in a Book of Mormon that they had, and then told him to take it. I think that'll be really cool if they did.

Monday,

I've been needing a Prep day for this whole week. I took advantage of the free time and wrote letters, did laundry, and did some other stuff around the house I needed to do. We got lunch, and then came to the cyber, where I am now.

Alright, well that's it for my email. Thanks for yours, I enjoy hearing about everything that's going on up there.

Love you,

Elder Fikus

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Letter #98 - December 5, 2011

Hey Mom,

Here's what happened this last week,

Monday,

Today after our PDay, my comp and I were just walking in the street when this older lady asked us if we said prayers for people. I said sure (not exactly what we try to do, but it's obviously something that we can do). So, we walked with her to her house, talked to her for a little bit, and then said a prayer with her as she asked. It was just kind of an interesting experience, someone looking for us haha.

Tuesday,

Today we had our district meeting, and today I got a letter. It was from the CTR class in primary, so I'll write them back soon. Today we had a pretty good lesson in the evening with this guy who has a member friend who we went with. The guy we're teaching is pretty down and everything, and the member suggested that we give a Priesthood blessing, which we did. It went well, I really want to be able to help this guy.

Wednesday,

Today we were walking down the street and we passed by the house of one of the people that we're teaching, Andrea. Her mom was outside and was doing some yard work, so after offering to help her, insisting, and then just taking the tools, we helped her clear some grass in front of their house.

Thursday,

Today we did divisions, so I stayed in my area and an Elder Salgado came with me. I haven't been in this area very long, but I got around fine as it's small enough. Elder Salgado is from California, and Mattlan actually served in his Stake (but not ward, already asked). Today we had four finding lessons, which means that they were our first lessons with people. They went well. After being in an area for too long, you start to get disanimated because it feels like you've done everything already. It was good to do divisions, get a new Elder in here and work with me. We also had a lesson with Shirley and Natalia, where they basically told us that they wouldn't be getting baptized in the near future. Nooooo! Natalia isn't married and Shirley said she feels a long way from being prepared. Sigh...

Friday,

Today we had a lesson with Jackelin, our eternal investigator who's been with the Jehovah's Witnesses this last year. We went with a member (who we actually ate lunch with today, they get along great), and we talked about faith. She knows that this is true so much, she just doubts. Ugh! We also had a Family Home Evening with this lady in our ward, and her non member sister and cousin. They're all a bunch of cougars, so we had a good lesson. Now to see if we can get them to actually do anything. We talked about the plan of salvation (using that wood map you sent me) and played Uno (which you also sent me haha).

Saturday,

Today (like the rest of the week it seems) I don't have much to report about. We just had one lesson with Paola, the lady who came to church last week. We're going to play soccer with that family, so hopefully the husband can realize that we're not terrible and worth avoiding and decide that it wouldn't kill him to get married.

Sunday,

Today we had three investigators in church, which I was super stoked about. We went to get Alejandro (from Tues), and walked with him since he only lives a couple of blocks away from the church, Jackelin (from Fri) was already there waiting for us (she seems dependable), and Shirley showed up (from Wed), which really surprised me considering she told us this week that she probably won't be getting baptized anytime near the near future. We also had our ward council meeting, where all we did was watch a large portion of this movie called '17 Miracles', that talked about the Pioneers.

Monday,

Today we went to the church in the morning to play soccer, did some grocery shopping, got lunch, and then came to the cyber.

Anyways, that's it for my letter this week. Thanks for everything. I'll be calling home soon haha.

Love you,

Elder Fikus

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Letter #97 - November 28, 2011

Hey Mom,

Here's my weekly update,

Monday,

Today after our PDay, my comp and I had one lesson with this family who's inactive. It's an interesting situation, because they got screwed financially by this other LDS family, who for not paying them back, has also gone inactive. Hm. The ones that we taught want to go back to church, so we're helping them out with that. The dad, who wants to go back the most has a difficult work schedule, but they invited us to their house to eat lunch and everything, so that's definitely a start.

Tuesday,

Today was our district meeting, and today I got my Chirstmas package. After telling you the day before not to bother, I got the package the day after. So, I'll have an early start to eat everything before I go home in two months haha. Thank you! You were thinking the same thing as me (great minds think alike), so I'm glad this one wasn't full of big, heavy presents haha. Today we actually were at one point deciding what to do (lessons and plans fell through), and we were close to the family that I mentioned that we talked to yesterday. Turns out they were outside working, so we took advantage of the unplanned opportunity to do service. We also had a lesson with Natalia and Shirley who I've mentioned a few times, teaching them about the restoration. Even though they're progressing great, they don't really have testimonies, so we wanted to teach them the restoration, and it went really well.

Wednesday,

Today we had a lesson with this lady who has been taught by a ton of missionaries. She was a reference of her really good friend, but we actually knocked her door anyways. Today we had our first lesson with her, and it was somewhat interesting. She's been studying with the Jehovah's witnesses for the past year, so it was kind of fun answering her questions. She had a hard time accepting the Book of Mormon, but after explaining some baised lies she heard, she decided that she'd continue to read it again haha. Today on the way home we were walking by a football (soccer) stadium in our area, and there was a ton of people there. Not sure why (there's never that many people), I decided to ask a standbyer outside her house. Well, that was about the greatest mistake ever. I think I started a converstion with one of the most apostate people that I've met in the mission. She never denied the church, but she feels way too sorry for herself about way too many things. It went from entertaining to frustrating as stupidity and contradictions began to spew out of her mouth. Eventually I interupted her and told her that we had to go (which we really did, even though she could have kept complaining for hours).

Thursday,

Today we didn't have lunch with anyone, so we had to cook in the house. At the suggestion of a member, I decided to try soy burgers, which were supposed to be delicious. The ones that I bought and tried (which were suggested) weren't bad, but they weren't near as good as real hamburger (as anticipated). I had to try them though, as the member said they were so good so that was kinda funny. We also had a lesson with Natalia and Shirley, and after teacing the law of chastity we found out that Natalia has a boyfriend, but is married to a different guy. Hm, so we'll see if she actually gets baptized now. That was a super bummer. We also had a pretty interesting lesson where we brought this member to a lady that we're teaching. I think that they got along a little too well, and the conversation got a little offtopic near the end. Like, they were totally talking about girl things and it was really weird. Eventually they stopped and appologized, we left (after saying a prayer), and they kept talking. Kinda funny.

Friday,

Today we jut did planning until we had our meetring, and then we went back to Jackaline (lady from Wednesday who's been taught forever). We went with a member, who helped a ton. Something kinda funny is that I told her to write down her questions, and today she gave me a list of anti-Mormon crap she'd written down. I told her I'd answer all of it this one time just to prove her our church can answer everything, although after this I only want her questions. Sigh. Good thing I've learned a thing or two over these past 22 months. It was a good lesson though. She knows that our church is true. We also played soccer tonight with this family who we've started help come back to church, and we invited a few other people who we're working with too. I of course enjoyed that.

Saturday,

Today we decided to walk all the way across the city (only like half an hour or 45 minutes but still) to visit one of our investigators who's currently in the hospital. One of the members in our ward works there, so we use her to stay in good contact. Today when we went to visit her, she told us that she doesn't want us to visit her in the hospital. Like what? Most people in the hospital are so deprived of social interaction to the point that they'll accept visits from anyone, and here's this person we know and have talked to who didn't want to attend us. I couldn't believe it.

Sunday,

Today we had church, and we only had one investigator there. I couldn't believe it, I thought that we'd have way more. It's the lady who needs to get married whose husband we managed to talk to a few weeks ago. We still haven't heard back if he's weilling to get married or not. We also had a meeting with our Bishop, which is always good.

Monday,

Today in the morning my comp and I went to centro as I wanted to print out some pictures. After coming back to the house, we ordered food, and then we came here to the cyber.

Alright, that's my letter. It seems like it was particularily long and boring this week, but that's the update. Thanks for the letter, and especially the package.

Love you,

Elder Fikus

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Letter #96 - November 21, 2011

Hey Mom,

Here's what happened in my week,

Monday,

Today after our PDay, the most exciting thing that we did was eat supper with Juan and Susy. I'm pretty sure that I've mentioned that we've eaten with them before, but I always like it. They're such nice people, and I really like eating in the sophisticated environment of grandparent aged people (haha, I didn't know how to word that well).

Tuesday,

Today we had our district meeting, and the district leader just talked about the importance of teaching while finding and finding while teaching. I also got a letter today from Richelle and her family, which had a couple halloween treats too. That's always exciting. I didn't write them this week but I'll try to do that soon. We had a lesson today with the people who came to church on Sunday (Shirley and Natalia). I really enjoy teaching them and we had a good lesson. We also had a lesson with this girl that we had talked to, and she let us in today, to my surprise. Her younger teenage brothers were playing video games, but they actually stopped playing them to listen to us, which impressed me.

Wednesday,

Today we ate lunch with our ward mission leader's family, and it was a lot of fun. He has some teenage kids who were there, and they told us about this circus that they went to. Apparently it was a total failure, and they way they explained it to us was so funny. There were no animals, only a few people doing stunts, and the clown's microphone broke so nobody could hear or understand him. I would have like to have gone just to see it. Apparently there were two parts with an intermission in between, which almost everyone left during. They didn't though, as they were somehow hoping that they'd get their money's worth haha. We also had an interesting lesson with this mom and her daughter who always sit on lawnchairs on this huge lawn outside their house by the highways. We'd talked to them before and today we just came to them and sat on the grass. They're really nice, and although the first time we talked to them they said they didn't want to know anything, they of course started asking us questions about religion and related things. It'll be a long process but they're fun to teach.

Thursday,

Today in the morning my comp and I went back to this lady who we had talked to a few days before. She let us in, but she mostly was just talking. We attempted to teach, but she was basically deaf so that didn't work so well. She didn't understand my comp or I. Today we also went out to work with a ward missionary, since we haven't really worked with members much. She actually hasn't come to church in a few weeks, so I don't know. It went well though. She was good, and I feel that she helped.

Friday,

Today was Friday, so we spent a good chunk of the day planning. Today we ate lunch with this family that I really liked. The guy in the family told us about all these people that he has talked about church or shared his testimony with. He also gave us a few references and wants to work with some of the people. It was really cool, I don't think I've had anyone in my whole mission who does that. Everyone is scared to, although I have no idea why. We also had a meeting with the other companionship in the ward and the ward mission leader. It was a total waste of time, I was super bored. We also had a lesson with this lady who has been being taught for a long time. The only problem is that her husband doesn't want to get married (despite not having any reason), although the missionaries have never been able to talk to him. Well today we finally talked to him, explaining why she wanted to get married and everything. He said he'd talk to her, so we'll see what happens.

Saturday,

Today we had a quick lesson again with Natalia, this time without her mother Shirley. Shirley is a little louder and tends to take the conversation any which way, but today it was just with Natalia, which was kinda nice. The lesson was a lot shorter haha. Today we went back to the girl and her brothers that I mentioned we talked to on Tuesday, and it turns out they they have an inactive uncle who came to the house. He was really nice, and used to be way active until he got offended. You can tell he wants to go back though, although it'd be really hard at this point. It was an intersting lesson.

Sunday,

Today was Sunday, and we actually didn't have any investigators in church. I was so sad, I thought we'd have quite a few groups. Natalia told us the day before that she'd go (turns out they got in a fight), and a bunch of other people with at least somewhat valid excuses. We also had our ward council meeting today, which went well. I keep thinking that our Bishop is a genious. Like he wants to do this ward activity where the ward bakes some Christmas dessert and then delivering a little to all the inactive families and people in the ward, each active person being assigned a couple people.

Monday,

Today in the morning we played soccer, which I really enjoyed. After that we went and got our haircuts, ordered food, and then came to the cyber.

Other,

Some random thing is that everyone in Mercedes I find is super respectful. Almost everywhere else that I've been, after there's no vehicles you cross the road. Here, most often vehicles will stop to let you cross. Also, the members treat us super well at lunch. It's just cool.

Anyways, that's all that I have for this week. Thanks for the letter and everything you do.

Love you,

Elder Fikus

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Letter #95 - November 14, 2011

Hey Mom,

Here's my weekly update,

Monday,

Today we had a pretty interesting lessons with someone after going back to work. We had invited a lady in our last lesson to pray about the things that we were teaching to know if she should do them. She didn't pray, telling us that she didn't because she wouldn't want any sort of commitment to God if she did know. Wow, I couldn't believe it. She already knows that she should but she doesn't want to pray because then she'll be obligated to do a bunch of stuff for her eternal salvation that she's not sure if she wants to do. Hm. It struck me as interesting haha.

Tuesday,

Today we had district meeting in the morning, which is a little different now considering I'm not a district leader. It was fine though, I prefer having personal study in the morning to do what I want than to prepare something for district meeting. Today we had a great finding lesson with this girl who recently got in some marital problems and went to live with her mom, who's an inactive member of the church with strong desires to go back. It went really well, so hopefully we can keep working with them. We also had this lesson with these people who have been getting taught for a while, a mom and her 28ish year old daughter. What's really distracting is there's this other 20 year old daughter who comes and sits down in the room without participating in the lesson just so she can stare at you for like 5 minutes straight while you're trying to teach her mom and sister. She's not even that bad looking (honest opinion), so it makes it super distracting.

Wednesday,

Today we had a lesson in the morning with this guy that we've been trying to find forever. I guess he was a reference from a member. It went well, and he told us that we could go and get him on Sunday before church. Today we also had a pretty fun task that we got to do. Okay so we share the ward that we're in with another companionship of Elders. They're teaching this super sketchy couple, who are well known thieves (not nice, but true). One time when they were teaching them, the guy left for a few minutes, and then came back into the house like ten minutes later. It was the Elder's last lesson of the day, and when they were leaving the guy asked them where they were going, and they told him home. Anyways, when the Elders got back to the house that night, their house had been broken into. It's a possibility that the guy had called a friend to go break into their house while they were in the lesson. Anyways, today those two elders were going to go back to this guy, and they asked my comp and I if we'd be willing to wait in their house for them, which we agreed to. I figured it'd make a good story if something happened. So today my comp and I waited in their house while they were in the lesson. I wrote some essays and my comp read. Unfortunately, nothing happened, but it was still fun either way haha.

Thursday,

Not much happened today, although we did have another lesson with the mom and sister and the other sister who comes in to stare at us haha. The lesson itself went better, as we managed to not the younger sister take over the conversation and start talking about clubs, dancing, and going out at night. Sigh...

Friday,

Today in the morning my comp and I went to go pay our rent, which we had to do for the month. After that we did week planning (already my second one here), and then we had a meeting with our ward mission leader. He showed up like an hour late, so we just waited in the church. In the evening we had a ton of set lessons, and I didn't think that we were going to be able to get to all of them. Turns out we didn't have one of them, although we did manage to go to some other people.

Saturday,

Today was a pretty exciting for me, as I saw something that I've heard other Elders talk about that I had never seen yet here before. Okay, well down here in Uruguay, motos are a lot more common than cars (cheaper). Also, people are pretty open about breast feeding, and don't cover themselves with a blanket or anything. Well today I saw a man driving a moto, and his wife sitting behind him breast feeding their baby as they were driving down the road. I pointed it out to my companion, and we both had a pretty good laugh about it. I actually hate when mothers have young babies on motos, but I found the whole breast feeding on a moto funny. We had an interesting lesson today too. It was with an inactive lady who got baptized in our church and then after going immediately inactive was invited by her sister to go to some other one which she did and where she's stayed. It was tough, but she knows that she's wrong.

Sunday,

Today we had church, and we had two investigators show up. The mom and daughter that I mentioned twice during the week showed up, which made me super happy. The guy who asked us to go by to get him wasn't there, but thankfully the two went. They showed up a teeny bit late, and it was so packed in the chapel I don't know how they found a seat. Hopefully it wasn't too awkward for them. They were both dressed really nice and everything. They left slightly before it ended (they had said beforehand that they probably wouldn't be able to stay for everything), so we haven't had a chance to talk to them since. Also today we were out just talking to people, and I felt that a lot of the doors that we knocked and people we talked to were really inspired choices. We even found this super good family in the night that we had talked to during the week. They even asked us about what time church started at without us bringing it up. Woo-hoo, we'll see where it goes.

Monday,

Today we haven't done that much (as always). I thoroughly cleaned our moldy bathroom using a highly concentrated bleach solution which did the trick, we went and got lunch, and now we're at the cyber.

Alright, well that's it for the week.

Love you,

Elder Fikus

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Letter #94 - November 7, 2011

Hey Mom,

Here's what's happened this week:

Thursday,

Today after using the cyber my comp and I went and said bye to a recent convert named Walter. He gave me a 3kg tub (6.5ish pounds) of dulce de leche as a gift haha. It was pretty sweet. After that I bought some stuff that I've been meaning to get here in Paysandu, and then we came back to the house so that I could pack. It was a miracle that all of my stuff fit in my suitcases. I seriously think that my suitcases have like doubled in weight ever since I started the mission, with all the stuff that I've obtained (books, clothes, random stuff haha). I'll have to leave a lot behind.. Hm...

Friday,

Today I got up at 4:00 to go to the terminal and take a bus to go to Mercedes. It was only a couple hour bus ride, and I slept the whole way. After arriving, I met up with my companion shortly, did a bit of unpacking in the morning, and then did week planning in the afternoon. As I said in my last letter, my new comp is Elder Woolston, who's from Salt Lake City. He's the oldest of five brothers and sisters, has been in the mission six months, and played a lot of video games (especially Call of Duty) before the mission, so that's an occasional topic of conversation haha. Anyways yeah, today we did week planning and then went out to work. At one of our lessons, two members from the ward showed up and had come to talk to an inactive lady about going back to church, so that gave me a good impression of the ward haha.

Saturday,

Today was kinda a slower working day, as almost nobody was home. We did have a lesson with this guy named Juan, who got baptized less than a week ago. He was really cool, and this area hadn't had a baptism for a while either, so that was pretty neat. They gave us supper, which was a nice change (I never eat anything at night hardly).

Sunday,

Today we had church, which starts at 9:30 here. I'm pretty excited to be in this ward. Something kind of funny is that this guy who served a mission here came back to see a girl again and they're going to get married. He ended the mission barely after I started, so it's been a while. Today he visited our ward with his fiance (from Montevideo) as he served here a couple years ago in his mission. So, I got to talk to him there and everything, which was pretty cool. At lunch, the guy we were eating with told us this two funny stories of robberies that he heard on the news or something. One was these guys on a moto went to a huge store that sells electronics and appliances and stuff right in the middle of the city. They busted a huge glass window, and stole this huge plasma TV, which the guy on the back had to hold while the guy on the front drove away, which would have been an extremely awkward and difficult process. They escaped haha. The other happened in Montevideo, where these two guys wearing police uniforms and face masked helmets walked into a bank styled place, the guards let them in, and then the guys who walked in casually stole $40,000. Since they had their helmets on, nobody knows who it was haha. Today after lunch we had ward council. The bishop and first councillor (I don't think we have a 2nd councillor), and Elder's Quorum President were there. I was pretty impressed. I think that our bishop is a genius, it's no wonder that our ward is doing so good.

Monday,

Today we got together a bunch of missionaries and played soccer at the church. It's been too long since I've played soccer, so that was really nice. It's super hot here though already, so that makes it not so desirable. After that we just all went to a house together to eat and now we've come to the cyber.

Other,

Here's some general information about my new circumstances, since I've changed areas:

My new area: It's small, and coming from a huge area, it seems smaller. It's so nice though because we don't have to do a ton of walking. It also seems big right now as it's all still new to me. Our house is in our area to, so I'll be able to come back to the house during the day to grab a drink of water to not die of dehydration haha.

My new ward: It's HUGE! I think it's the biggest ward that I've been in. There's like 100 active members or something. Since there's only one chapel here in Mercedes, and two wards of two missionary companionships each, there's a total of 8 missionaries in the building on Sunday. Hardly anyone recognized that I was new haha. It's very different.

My new companion: We get along really good. It's always weird getting used to being with a new person for every hour of the day, but we get along fine. I'll have a lot of fun with him.

Love you,

Elder Fikus

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Letter #93 - November 3, 2011

Hey Mom,


Well since today is Thursday, I have a lot more to say than normal haha.


Monday,


After going to the cyber, we came back to the house. I made chocolate chip cookies for my district tomorrow, as I was under the impression that it'd be the last one for this change. Turns out I was wrong, but everyone got the cookies anyways. I decided that baking is way too much work, and it's no wonder that everyone just buys pre-made food. I also managed to get a bit of cleaning done in the house. We had a lesson in the evening with Marcela, that went really well. It was just with her, as her husband was gone, but it was a really good lesson. She really opened up to us and talked about their past and stuff. It's really important to have the trust of investigators.


Tuesday,


Today was Tuesday, and I gave everyone the chocolate chip cookies that I had made the day before. I talked about how to work with members better. Something that I decided is that we really already do know everything that we need to do to have success in missionary work (or at least I do by this point). It's just a matter of applying it. Today we kinda found out bad news from a member about the Gimeno family. They're the super awesome family that came to church every week and fed us lunch every Wednesday. We were also working with the dad in the family quite a bit. Anyways, we don't really know the details, but they've decided to stop coming to church. We think that the Grandma (mom of the mom) has something to do with it. Not good.


Wednesday,


Today we were supposed to eat with the Gimeno family, but as anticipated, that didn't happen. So we wasted quite a bit of time going to their house, not getting attended, and then coming back to our house to cook something. We didn't want to give the impression that we knew they had decided to stop coming to church, so we went there as if nothing had happened. But, we wasted some time in the process. In the afternoon, we did service for our Bishop. We basically just helped him out with farm chores, as he has a similar farm to Grandpa Larson's. It was a lot of fun. I want to help Grandpa out with chores after the mission. Even if all I do is just follow him around and do little things that he could do in his one-man-job, I think it'd be enjoyable. It'd been a while since we'd been to the Bishop's house, so it was good that we got to go over there.


Thursday,


Today I had my meeting with the zone leaders as usual. It was also just a long study that really wasn't worth the time we lost proselyting, as usual. We had scheduled to meet with our Ward Mission Leader after, since we needed to meet with him and we were already going to be in the chapel, but he cancelled. That was somewhat inconvenient. Today something kind of exciting happened though when my comp and I almost saw an accident. We turned around the corner after leaving a house and this chick was sprawled out on the ground with her moto tipped over. All these people started rushing over to her and tried to help and stuff. We were in a hurry and didn't really have time to figure out what happened or help, (and there was already like 30 people there as everyone is always outside in the evening during the summer) so we kept going. I think she just slipped on some loose gravel on the road though. Thankfully, it didn't look too serious.


Friday,


Today we did service in the morning before going to lunch. It was our second time to do service this week for someone in the ward. They had really long grass in their backyard that they were going to cut with a weedwacker, but we went over it with a shovel and hoe first so that it wasn't too thick. Today we also had ward council in the evening, which my comp and I went to to be supportive and present that form that we have to talk about our investigators. It was a total waste of time, as always. We waited for forever to be able to talk, and they only gave us a tiny bit of time. We're only supposed to be there for 15 minutes but it was quite a bit longer haha. I was kinda not too impressed about that.


Saturday,


Today in the morning we went to another service project. This one was for the whole Stake and there was a lot of missionaries there. We went to a school and cleaned up the grounds a little bit. Something that they made us do was crush bricks with these tools. Since there were a ton of bricks, and we were in a large group, we got the idea of trying to chop them with our hands. One elder did it, and then I did. It was surprisingly easy, although my hand did hurt for a day or so haha. Today for work we had a really awesome lesson. A couple days ago, my comp and I were just walking from one place to another and this family ran outside to stop us. They told us that they were members and wanted to start going back to church, and that one of their kids could and wanted to get baptized. It was a miracle that basically fell out of Heaven. Anyways, today we had a lesson with them, setting it a few days beforehand. We also saw Jonathan, who's the kid who has the girlfriend in the other ward. It was another miracle that we saw him today, and we were able to set a lesson. Also, one of our investigators told us that we'd be able to get him before church. And lastly, Marcela and Jorge announced that they wanted to get married today. A lot of really good things happened today. It was pretty exciting.


Sunday,


Today we went by the investigator who told us that we could go by beforehand to get him. He was waiting outside for us, which made me really happy. However, he was waiting outside to tell us that he wasn't going to be able to go. I had gotten up 20 minutes early at 6:10 to shower so that my comp could shower at 6:30 so that we could make it to him on time and he told us that he couldn't come. I was not impressed. However, the family that we had a lesson with yesterday (who ran out of their house sever days before to yell at us) came really early, so that was pretty exciting. The ward treated them great, too, so that was really nice. In the evening, we did our weekly planning.


Monday,


Today we had a lesson that was particularly interesting. We had a lesson with this 18 year old kid named Gonzalo who's a really smart kid. He's pretty philosophical, so I didn't know if he had the mindset or capacity to accept a church as the truth, but he listened well and understood. He also accepted to read the Book of Mormon, which I'm positive he'll do as he loves to read. Anyways, he was also pretty funny too, and was telling us all these stories about corruption here. He talked about how people had stolen monuments and statues and stuff. It was kinda funny, I didn't realize it was like that here so much. It seems normal, but according to him, everything's super corrupt.


Tuesday,


Today was the last district meeting of the change, this time for real. I just had everyone bear their testimonies, after talking a bit, as that's my favourite thing to do at the last district meeting. For lunch, us and another companionship went out to eat at this restaurant that's kind of in centro that we always walk past. It was a little pricy, but the food was really good. It was worth it, although I don't think to go all the time.


Wednesday,


Today was the last day that I'd be here in this area, so we spent the whole day saying goodbye to people. I really don't like saying goodbye. I feel that's what I've been doing my whole mission, ever since I left everyone in Canada. I took a picture with everyone and gave them one of the Canada pens that you gave me. Obviously we didn't have time to go by everyone that I know, but I did manage to say bye to most of the members, and a couple other people.


Thursday,


Today is our PDay. We ate lunch with a family and then used their cyber to write our emails. I'm leaving to Mercedes, which is located in the department of Soriano. It's a little bit further south, so I won't die during the summer. I'm most likely going to my 'graveyard', as I only have two changes left. My new companion is going to be Elder Woolstin, who's in his fourth change or something, so he's really new to the mission. I don't think I'm district leader or anything, so I'm actually kind of looking forward to a break from that haha. I leave tomorrow morning at 4:30am.


Thanks for always sending me your letter, I hope waiting until Thursday didn't worry you too much haha.


Love you,


Elder Fikus

Letter #92 - October 24, 2011

Hey Mom,

Well, here's my weekly update,

Monday,

Well today after the cyber we had to do a couple last minute things even though today wasn't PDay. We had to finish doing week planning from the night before and get haircuts. When we went out to work, we only had one lesson. It was with this guy who got baptized a few months ago named Ruben. He's not super active anymore, but because of his work schedule it's really hard for him to go to church. He made us pizza as he always does when it's a set lesson, and we encouraged him to keep going to church when he can.

Tuesday,

Today we had our district meeting in the morning. We started waaay late today, which really shafted me a lot of time that I had planned to use for my lesson since I waited for the zone leaders at our house for like 20 minutes (we had to do some house checks beforehand), so that kinda sucked. At district meeting I really didn't have any time (other complications), but I managed to talk a little bit about seeing teaching and finding situations from investigator's point of view. Today was also really exciting in that I got the package you sent me! Wooohoo! I've already eaten a box of KD, some peach rings, Ferrera Rochers and noodles, and I'll be making the brownies today (Monday). I love getting packages haha. Today my comp and I went to Pablo to have a lesson with him, and it turns out that he's going to go to Colonia (like 5 hours away) to work. Today was his last day here in PDu. It really sucked saying bye to him, I feel like he came to be a really good friend of mine. The whole mission is like that, saying bye from one place and to one person to the next. We managed to have one last lesson with him though, wishing him well and taking pictures and stuff. I wonder what'll happen to him.

Wednesday,

Today was interviews, so President came here to have an interview with all the missionaries. I was one of the first ones since I'm a district leader, and my interview was a really long time actually. President asked a few simple questions and then gave me a bunch of advice on how to work with the ward better. The Zone Leaders and one of the APs who came did a presentation, but they weren't particularily special. Today my comp and I had two finding lessons, so that was really cool. We talked to this one guy who was at least slighly intoxicated who let us into his house, and we found these ex-investigators, an inactive guy and his girlfriend, who've gone to church before that we talked to.

Thursday,

Today my comp and I went to the bus station to buy our bus tickets to go to Deo for the weekend, and it turns out that the bus company raised their prices last night, so they cost a little bit more than I was planning on. Whatever. Today after lunch I had my meeting with the zone leaders, which was kind of a disaster since the other district leader got bit by a dog this morning so it was just the two ZLs and I. Other than that, we took Enrique to a lesson with us, which went really good. Enrique is such a stud, he loves going to lessons with us. We waited forever to for the guy to come back to his house, since he was out doing an 'errand', but in the end we had the lesson.

Friday,

Today something kind of funny happened when my comp and I went out to start working. So we always walk by this highschool since it's on the way to our area, and today these three girls who were probably like 14 ran up to us and asked us for our signiture. I said sure (I was honoured), and asked if there was any particular reason why. They said that they were having a competition with these other people to see who could collect the most signitures. So, it wasn't for anything too special, but it was still the first time that anyone asked me for my signiture so I felt pretty special. Today my comp and I only had one lesson (a finding one) with some lady, and then we had to get on a bus to go to Monevideo. We left at 5:30, and got there like 5 hours later. From the terminal we took a taxi to President's house, where he and the H'na had made some room ready for us. I slept on this huge luxerious double bed, and my comp got an air matress haha.

Saturday,

Today in the morning my comp and I got up, showered, ate breakfast that H'na Heaton made for us (granola, milk, yogurt, bananas, and cinnamon buns), and then went to the Uruguayan American School. President drove us there, so that was nice. There were a couple other people waiting outside, so I waited with them until some lady came out and invited us into the school. My comp stayed in some chair in the lobby and I went with the four other kids who were going to take the test to the classroom where we were gonna take it. It went as I had thought. I think I did well, although I don't think I did the best I could have. The main reason was I didn't budget my time very well on the math test, and ended up with the longest questions at the end with not nearly enough time to solve all of them. The lady called five minutes and I looked for the shortest one to solve. As I was solving it, she called time. I don't think I got five minutes, but to not cheat I got stuck with like seven questions blank. That means that the highest I can get on the math subsection is like 27 or 28 I think, which is still good despite not being as good as I'd like. I think I did pretty good on English and reading, and even science even though it seemed harder than the practise tests that I did. I guess we'll see. It should be posted online in about three weeks. I think I got somewhere between 25-30, assuming from how I did on my practise tests to how I did on this one. After that my comp and I walked back to the temple on the same block where President lives, since our ward was there. We managed to make it in time to see the sealing of a couple in our ward, and then their daughter to them. It was really cool. It made me realize the importance of really being sure when you choose someone to marry haha. The people in our ward were pretty happy that we showed up. We took some pictures with them after and then went to Tienda Inglesa, where I bought a couple food items (like peanut butter, woohoo) and a tie. After that, my comp and I went to downtown Montevideo, where we went to Burger King for lunch. They've raised the prices, so it was like $11 for a double whopper combo, but it is SO worth it haha. My comp bought my lunch, since I bought his bus ticket, so that was nice of him. Something kinda cool was there was some bicentenial celebration in Montevideo, so there was a ton of people selling stuff on stands like handmade crafts (mostly jewelry), antiques, and paintings. It was really cool. After that, we went to the area where I started the mission. It was SO wierd being back where I started the mission. It's been a year and three months since I was there. A lot of people weren't home, and one family moved to Salto, but I managed to see a couple people and talk to them for a bit. The people at the last place that we went acompanied us to the bus stop at night, and then we had to go on to come back to PDu. That bus took us to the terminal and we got on the big bus at 10:30 to come back. I slept most of the way.

Sunday,

Today was a pretty uneventful day. We had church, ate lunch, and then did week planning.

Monday,

I still haven't done very much today. After getting up, I got caught up in my journal (behind three days), and then we came to the cyber.

Anyways, that's all I have to say this week. Thanks for everything as always. I'm enjoying the package =)

Love you,

Elder Fikus

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Letter #91 - October 17, 2011

Hey Mom,

Here's my weekly update,

Monday,

So after coming back to the house, I did one of the practise ACT tests that I had printed during the week. I would have done two but because of soccer I didn't have time. I scored a 30 or 31, which puts me within the top 95-98% of people who take the test. I'll be fine haha. Today my comp and I went out after to work and we ended up finding Elida, the lady that President Heaton had converted like 40-50 years ago or whatever when he served his mission. It was a pretty interesting story, why she went inactive. To keep it short, I'll just say that it had to do with who she married and the church before the second official declaration. It was kinda a unique situation.

Tuesday,

Today we had our district meeting, and today I talked about charity and love in missionary work. I didn't get anything in the bolsa. Today we also had three awesome lessons. One was with a lady that we had talked to last week, and we had our first lesson with her today. We also had one with this guy named Roque who's the husband of Milka, a lady that we found last week. He has a ton of religous books, and has even read quite a bit from our church's canonical library (DC and the PoGP). With him, we focused on the need of a spiritual conversion to the gospel, instead of an intellectual one. Today we also went to the house of Michele, a guy that we've been teaching for a few weeks. His wife is inactive in some Evangelical church, and she's never came in and sat down with us before. However, today she decided to do so. She said that she wants to help her husband get baptized and everything, and she acted really interested today. Not sure why such the change, but it was nice haha.

Wednesday,

Today we had a short lesson with Pablo, who didn't come to church again on Sunday. He was going to go out fishing and we managed to have a short lesson with him. That was pretty much our lesson of the day, because at like 7 or so my comp and I were knocking doors talking to people. It was kind of starting to rain, but alternated between raining and not for like half an hour. At one point we were under this roof infront of a house, and it started to rain again. This time it started rained like crazy and didn't slow down. The storm hit. We were totally stuck. We didn't have any coats or umbrellas or anything. It didn't look like it was going to rain when we left the house haha. We had all of our stuff on us to, and I wasn't too excited about getting my expensive scriptures soaking wet or anything. So after wating like an hour and seeing that it really wasn't going to slow down for a long time, my comp and I figured out who was closest by, Nacho and Natalia, who have the cyber. They were two blocks from where we were. So, we ended up sprinting there, getting soaked in the process. They gave us food and we made tortas fritas (fried batter dessert that everyone eats here when it raints). At 9, they took us back to our house in their car, so that was really nice of them.

Thursday,

Today after lunch, I had my meeting with the zone leaders agian. It seems like when I started these meetings, there was more items of business. Today we basically just studied together for a little bit, so while it was productive it didn't seem the same. Today we also went to this girl who was babysitting in another house that other Elders had gone to and they passed us the address. It was a pretty good lesson. Since one of the Gimenos (who we eat with on Wednesday and recently got baptized) is about her age (17 and 19 haha), we invited her afterwards. She was reluctant but said she would.

Friday,

Today was a pretty slow day, and we almost didn't have anything all day. Today we did have soccer though, and we were going to go with Pablo, but he had gone fishing. so, we ended up going with his brother, Franco, and a couple of other kids from the neighborhood. It was fun playing with them. There was 35 people who showed up, so we had seven teams of five, so we didn't get to play too often. Some of the kids who went with us were pretty little, but they did good. It was fun.

Saturday,

Today we went to the girl that we found on Thursday with Lucrecia. Flavia (the girl we went to) wasn't even home haha, so Lucrecia was getting worried for nothing. We were also gong to go with Enrique (our super awesome recent baptism) to Michele (from Tuesday), but our ward had to clean the church, so he had to do that instead. I don't even think that they did it because not enough people showed up haha. Our last lesson of the day was with Pablo, making sure that he'd come to church.

Sunday,

Today was Sunday, and we didn't have a single investigator in church, again. It's so dissapointing. You just work so hard through the week and then nobody shows up to church on Sunday. Something kinda interesting is we were doing weekly planning, but the sister missionaries in our zone have this girl in their ward who has this boyfriend who has started to come to church. Since he actually lives in our area, they wanted us to meet them at a lesson in their area so we could start talking to him. Well, wandering outside of one's area is a little tricky, as you don't know anyone or anything. Well, we got lost. To make a long story short, we got off the bus at the wrong spot thanks to a misunderstanding between the bus driver and I, thought we were somewhere we weren't, prayed, wandered, talked to people, found a different member, and got showed where this member lives that we were looking for. We were slightly late, but we had the lesson and it went well.

Monday,

Today isn't our PDay, but I wanted to come to the cyber anyways to keep our letters more consistant. We went to the cyber of Nacho and Natalia again in the morning before eating lunch with them to do service, which including making those cables needed for internet. After that we came back to do a regular house check that I have to do, and now we're at the cyber. It's kinda weird not having our PDay today, but we have some stuff to do (like finishing weekly planning thanks to our unanticipated lesson yesterday), so it won't be too painful.

Anyways, that's it for the week. Thanks for the letter and all you do.

Love you,

Elder Fikus