Monday, December 29, 2014

Week 66

The Missionaries of "El Centro" with the Gonzalez Family

Wow, we had a good time this week. Christmas was really good and I had a good time. It’s strange to think that this was my last Christmas in the mission.

So everyone (us missionaries) was pretty excited for Christmas to start out the week.


Monday was simple. We did our contacts and found a complete family. We have been talking to some youth in the Street and there are a group of boys that are always playing soccer out in the streets and we have been talking with one specifically. His name is Sebastian. A few days earlier we asked if we could pass by and he said yes. We stopped by on Monday and he let us in. We had a good short lesson by sharing He is the Gift. We then went to a FHE with Carlos Gonzales and he invited a couple that he knew that lived down the street. Their names are Jonathan and Solange. It went really well. We talked about Christmas and sang hymns. We also shared a bunch of guacamole and chips.

 Tuesday: The Christmas Devotional

So on Tuesday the ENTIRE MISSION headed to Chillan to go to the annual mission Christmas Devotional. The mission contracted like 6 busses to go out and pick up all the missionaries and get them to and from the activity.

It was awesome seeing all the missionaries there and seeing all the friends I’ve made over the last year. It was good spending some good time with everyone. To start it out every zone had to do a skit. We simply took it spiritually and performed a couple songs as a choir and had some of the elders act out a scene of finding a man, teaching him and later him being baptized. There were some hilarious skits all in all.

After that, we watched the Christmas video that the office elders put together, listened to a talk that Elder Ferreira gave (The area 70 here, yes good old Elder Ferreira from Nonguen) and ate lunch. We had a great time.

Mexico City MTC group reunited, good old District 9A

Felipe Vergara with Elder Haws

E. Sanabria, E. Garcia, Felipe, E. Haws, E. Bird

Wednesday: Christmas Eve

Our highlight was going to Carlos Gonzalez’s house for Christmas Eve dinner. We had a simple dinner. Carlos cooked up a huge mound of meat and his spouse Nancy is from Mexico so we had some Mexican side dishes as well. It was great spending some time with them and enjoying Christmas.

An awesome Chorillana for Christmas Eve
Elder Stockford


Christmas was very simple for me. Elder Stockford and Castellon wanted to go out and play soccer at the church in the morning so they went leaving Elder Letelier and I at the house to relax and enjoy the morning. We went to lunch, then came back and called the family, then we went to an activity that the mission put on and we went back and relaxed a bit more at the chapel while some people played soccer. It was a simple day. The greatest thing was talking with the family. It didn’t make me too homesick but really lifted my spirits.

 Friday through the weekend:

Not much happened because a lot of people just left the city for Christmas. It was a bit of a struggle getting to teach people because the whole weekend was pretty much one whole holiday. But we did see success. We called our Golden investigator, Estefano, on Friday and asked how he was doing. He said that he had been reading the book of Mormon and he said that he had been learning things that he didn’t know before. Also he said that he had been praying every day and it had been working… We invited him to church and he was all for it! We were stoked. We passed by Sunday morning as we had said and he was all ready. We went to church. He loved it and even participated a lot in the gospel principles class. We are so stoked to continue to work with him. We have faith that if he continues to keep his commitments, he will be baptized in no time.

It was a good but simple week. Now we are in another cambio! Elder Stockford is leaving to Parral and Elder Flores is coming to replace him. Elder Flores is Chilean and I think he has about 7 or 8 months in the mission. I don’t know much about him but I’ve heard he is pretty cool! I am excited to see how it goes! It’s another page to the mission book!

Thanks for all that you guys do! I love you all so much and I hope that you had a very good Christmas! I love you all so much and it was so good seeing you for a few moments. I’m sorry I couldn’t put very many details in the letter this week due to the short time I had. But I’ll try and put more in next week! Until then.

Elder Haws

Week 65

Wow, we are so close to Christmas! How time flew by! I cannot believe that It is almost here, we have been working our guts out to get the He is the Gift initiative to all of Concepción. I guess the saying is true; time flies when you’re having a good time.

We had some cool experiences this week.

First off from the activity last week we were able to get some good references. We saw one that was pretty cool and we called the guy up. His name is Estefano. He is from Chile but knows English and even lived in the UK for about a year while studying in Cambridge. We called him up and set up an appointment and he was very excited about it. Seeing that he was excited we were pumped to go visit him the next day. So the next day we went by and he let us right in. He lives in a huge apartment building kind of like ours but a lot nicer. We got in and we just started speaking English. It was so weird. I’m now so accustomed so that when I’m in another person’s house I just speak Spanish. We hit it off really well. He is also engaged to his fiancé named Maria Jesus (What a coincidence, eh?). So we are excited for that. No one here in Chile, and I imagine in the world now wants to be married. They only live together unmarried. Estefano is 22 and Maria is 20.

We started the lesson and to start it off we shared He is the gift. Estefano didn’t have time to see the video while he was passing by in the activity, just give his reference. So we shared the video with him and Maria. They loved it and we began talking about a lot of subjects mainly focused on their religious background and Christ. They have a lot of doubts about the churches because they have just have had bad experiences. So we taught a bit of the restoration and gave them pamphlets. They were excited and we set up an appointment for the next day. They are SUCH cool people. We are so excited to be teaching them!!!

We came back the next day and Maria was feeling a bit sick, so she just stayed back in the other room. We were able to talk to Estefano and he started right off the bat and said something like, ‘’Guys, I loved the pamphlet, especially one part. I was reading in the part about Joseph Smith and where it said that God told him that the other churches were wrong and said that the honor me with their lips but their hearts are still far from me, and that part really struck me. I mean I felt like a shock and I felt like it was true.’’ We just sat there in unbelief. NO ONE ever reads the pamphlets or even pays attention to us in lessons EVER. It was a Christmas miracle….. With our minds reeling we started to teach and go through the pamphlet with him. We got to the book of Mormon and it got pretty spiritual. We pulled out a copy and gave it to him with a chapter to read. He responded saying, ‘’Awesome I was just going to ask you where I could get a copy so that I could read it.’’

Let’s just say that we were stoked and we invited him to baptism and church and he accepted both but he said that he wasn’t sure about a date to be baptized because he wanted to read the book a little bit first. Same with going to church. We said of course you should do that and left him with the invitations. We are going to be working with him this week and with Maria and we are excited to see how they will progress. They are as golden and golden gets here in Chile!!

So Christmas time is close and people are 90% more stressed and mean. It was really hard contacting people this week because they all wanted NOTHING. But oh well we sure gave it our all.

We had a multi stake Christmas concert in Glaizner last night and it was awesome. And because it was multi stake the Andalien stake came as well! As I hoped, people came pouring in from Nonguen. It was incredible seeing them. I thought that they had all forgotten about me because it was about a year ago, but they all saw me and shouted ELDER HAWS!! They all came and greeted me, The Ruminots, Rosas, Fransisco de la Torre, The Reyes Moya Family, and all of the Ferreiras were all there! It was awesome catching up and oh man it was like seeing best friends after a very long time. I love those people so much and I am sure that our friendships will last into the eternities.

I am excited for Christmas and really enjoying the meaning of it more than I ever have before. It will be very spiritual I am sure.

We are having a huge Christmas activity as missionaries. The ENTIRE mission is heading to Chillan to have a big conference. We expect that something big will happen. We are hoping that we will see a general authority because as rumor has it the Concé temple will begin construction in January and an authority, or an apostle needs to be there to do it. We are hoping that an apostle will come! So just rumor…. Let’s hope it happens.
Merry Christmas everyone! I hope this week goes well for all of you! I love you all so much. I miss you all terribly and I love you all so much. May this week be the merriest and jolliest of all!!

 I love parts of the message President Monson Gave some years ago:

In the New Testament of our Lord, John describes a journey by those who would worship.

“And there were certain … among them that came up to worship at the feast:

“The same came therefore to Philip … and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.” (John 12:20–21; italics added.)

Little children have another way of expressing the same wish. Most often they say, “Tell me the stories of Jesus I love to hear, things I would ask him to tell me if he were here.” They seek after Jesus, and so it has ever been. No search is so universal. No undertaking so richly rewarding. No effort so ennobling. No purpose so divine.…

The formula for finding Jesus has always been and ever will be the same—the earnest and sincere prayer of a humble and pure heart. The prophet Jeremiah counseled, “Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” (Jer.29:13.)

And when we find him, will we be prepared as were the wise men of old to provide gifts from our many treasures? They presented gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These are not the gifts Jesus asks of us. From the treasure of our hearts Jesus asks that we give of us: “Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind.” (D&C64:34.)

In this marvelous dispensation of the fullness of times, our opportunities to give of ourselves are indeed limitless, but they are also perishable. There are hearts to gladden. There are kind words to say. There are gifts to be given. There are deeds to be done. There are souls to be saved.
Until the next one. MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Elder Ethan Haws  

Week 64

Alright! Another week, and another step closer to Christmas.

This week was interesting! I got a little sick during the week so our work for the week kind of went down but we still had good experiences.
I had to stay in the house on Wednesday to get better and we had a massive activity on Thursday that took up the whole day and that left us with two days less in the week.

I’ll tell you about the highlights and the updates from the week.

First: the activity:

We had an awesome activity on Thursday using ''He is the Gift''. Our zone got together and we were able to get a hold of 3 TVs, a huge speaker system, tables, and all the missionary hand outs and copies of the Book of Mormon that were available. We went to a plaza Downtown and set up a big area where we showed Because of Him and He is the Gift where people passing by could see it. It was AWESOME. We stopped hundreds of people and were able to tell many about the true meaning of Christmas. It was awesome to see how many people stopped to see the video. It sure brought the feeling and spirit of Christmas to all of us. It was a sure success. We gave out a huge box of copies of the Book of Mormon and President Arrington, his wife, and the assistants even showed up.

Second: We finished up the service project from painting the old house of Rosita Castillo. We had a good time while painting the house.

Third: We had interviews with President this week. And for a special twist he made us teach him for 5 minutes about the Atonement. It was a bit intimidating but it went really well. The interview helped me a ton. It is always good to talk to president.

We found a way cool guy this week who has been sharing with the missionaries and had almost gotten baptized. His name is Ramón and he is 103 YEARS OLD. He’s really old and about the nicest little old man you could ever imagine. Apparently he was actually 100% ready to be baptized, and got to the week of his baptism and his highly Evangelical family came and talked him out of it. Now he is under restraints to leave his house from his family and everything, but it was good visiting him. We don't see it as very possible that he could get baptized but we at least want to prepare him well for when he passes on.

We are focusing on two investigators at the moment. All the rest have faded away.

First, Francisco. We weren't able to find him this week because he was busy with family commitments and he also got confirmed in the Catholic church. We aren't too worried because recently he has had some serious doubts about what people have been doing in their church and from some scriptures he had found that were contrary to some doctrine, so we are working with that! He didn't make it to church this week but we are looking forward to this weekend.

Second, Macarena. She is the girlfriend of a less active boy that has been out of the church for quite some time. She is 15 and pregnant and the less active is named Hanz and is 17 years old. She has been super interested in the church and has had the desire to attend on Sundays and everything. We are working with her a bit slower because President doesn't wanting us baptizing her too fast to make sure that she is committed and has a support system before all of that.

It’s a short letter but that's all I’ve got! Thanks for everything guys! I love you so much. I love hearing from you and what's going on in your lives.
Thanks for all the work you have done to print off all the pictures I lost. Thanks for the sacrifice!

I miss you guys tons especially during this Christmas season. I wish I could be there with you enjoying the possibly white lawn with the hot chocolate and the Christmas tree and all that comes with it! Just enjoy it all for me. I love all of you so much! Until next week!

Elder Ethan Haws

Monday, December 8, 2014

Week 63

 "So this is hillarious.  This is one of the stinking dogs that wouldn't go away so we just buried it"
Alright, here we are again! Another week down.

We had a good time this week. There are a lot of adventures so I’ll include just a few.

Dedication of the sector:

So last week we were planning and thinking of things that we could do to improve the sector. We got a little off topic and somehow it led to the idea of something more. I had always wanted to go and do something along the lines of going to a hill in the sector and offering a prayer to plead with Heavenly Father to bless the sector for good that we could see the work progress. I threw out the idea and everyone loved it. We took some time and climbed the biggest hill in the sector. Up there on the hill there are many big trees and a famous tower thing that is now unclimbable due to the earthquake in 2010. We went up there and offered a prayer. It was very spiritual. In a way we asked the Lord that he could dedicate the sector and that we could begin to see miracles. When we got down, from that moment on, we swore that the sector felt a bit different. It was a bit more calm, and fewer people yelling at us.

Soccer tournament:

This Thursday we organized a little soccer tournament between all of the quorums including YM's, Elders Quorum, High priests, and Missionaries.  It was a good tournament. We ended up in 2nd place and Elders winning it all. I’m getting a lot better at soccer, I’m nowhere near good still, but hey there’s progress.

 Elder Haws in a park in Tome on the way to the beach

 The beach in Tome

The Beach:

Today we went to the beach in Tomé. It is beautiful there. We played Soccer, Volleyball, and Ultimate Frisbee. We also had a herd of dogs following us around. The stinking dogs….. They never go away here. Ha, actually we were walking to the beach and they wouldn’t go away so our zone leader, Elder Donoso, Kicked the soccer ball at one of the dog’s and it got mad and started attacking one of the other dogs and soon all of them were in commotion. They are very unintelligent creatures around here. You just had to see it to be funny.  Anyway, we had a good time and messed around for a while. It’s always fun spending the morning at the beach.

"So we ended up making it into a turtle monster thing...."

Famous Drunks:

So maybe some of you remember, in my first sector, Nonguen I was always talking with the famous town drunks. Good old ‘’John Anthony, Nelson, Gato, Guido’’, and others. I hadn’t been in a sector with famous drunks again until now. There are some pretty hilarious guys here. One of them is called, to us, El Viejito Pascuero. That’s what they call Santa Claus here. It’s this old shorter guy who is kind of slouched over with sunken eyes and a ball cap. Elder Stockford always messes with him and tries to turn his hat around every time he sees him.  His classic thing is he gives a jolly and half drunken ‘’Oh Oh!’’ It’s not a deep voice that he has, rather he sounds like a drunken elf. It’s really hilarious. He always says just about the same thing. ‘’Oh oh! Pascuero, me falta poco (stroking his beard). Oh oh!’’ and just rambles on. Sometimes he just swears a bunch and just goes off to his shoe repair shack. The other day we were walking down the street and he was up about two blocks from us and we shouted ‘’Pascuero!’’ He didn’t even turn around but just stood there and lifted his fist up in the air victoriously and walked into his house. Funny stuff.

He is the Gift:

So this new initiative has been incredible. Already, this has been one of the most meaningful Christmas seasons of my entire life. Sharing the true meaning of Christmas has been miraculous. People have been listening to us more and we have seen many hearts almost accept our invitations. We have had a few lessons with just sharing the video and those have been some of the most spiritual lessons that I’ve had here in my mission. People just start to cry when they see the video and cry harder when we talk about the love of our loving Heavenly Father and our Savior. It is a miraculous time to be a missionary and to see hearts opening. The Lord is preparing people to hear this message and it’s incredible. It’s like He and his servants have been chumming the waters for people to notice the gospel.

Our investigators are doing well. We had three of them in church this weekend! WOO HOO!

We weren’t able to visit with Fransisco this week but he is still our main focus. Not much happened other than looking for and finding more people.  We are working well with members and seeing progress through that. We are happy to see that the work is progressing.

That’s about all that I have for now! I hope that all of you are doing well!! I miss you very much and I love you all tons!! I hope that all of you are enjoying the wonderful Christmas season. Can’t wait to be talking to all of you again over skype. We still don’t have many details but I will still keep you updated. Thank you for all you do for me. I love you guys so much. Until next week. Have a fantastic week!

Elder Ethan Haws

 We painted a house this week for service

Week 62

Hey guys! Another week.

Well, since we don’t have much time in the cyber I’ll summarize the best I can.

The week was good. We saw some great things. First off I’ll tell you about the progress in our work.

So this week we found many people, but the two that in our eyes are going to progress the most are a young man named Francisco, and a lady named Maria who owns a little shop.

So, one of the best families here is the Castillo family. The moms name is Rosa and she is super active in the church. Their son John Franco is 16 and their daughter Giovanna is in her early twenties. The husband, I can’t remember his name, is 46 years old. They are awesome and are always helping us out. This week John Franco brought one of his friends over. That friend was Francisco. A long time ago he was sharing with missionaries, but he never got baptized. He is 15 years old and very catholic. He doesn’t believe too much in the church but he has some strong beliefs in God and wants to find the true church of God. Sounds pretty great right? Since we can’t baptize youth under 16 without careful supervision and permission, we are coordinating well with President Arrington and we are going to have to take some extra time to get him baptized. But it will all be worth the good work. We hope that he continues to be receptive. We shared with him twice this week and both were good visits. We are excited to have a good investigator.

Yesterday, Sunday, we went out for the whole afternoon to go and work with one of the returned missionaries in the ward. His name is Nicolas, or Nico, for short. We killed it yesterday, we had 2 other lessons and 2 lessons with members finding 5 new investigators and getting all of our contacts. Two of those new investigators seemed really cool and we are excited to be working with them this week. Their names are Juana, and Alejandra. Good stuff is on the horizon.

We as missionaries here in Concepcion are having a good time. We are laughing and having a great time. There are plenty of inside jokes already and we are becoming good friends. This week I taught all of the other elders how to solve a rubik’s cube and we are close to writing a song for Christmas.

This week on Thursday on thanksgiving we had an awesome zone class. We had a special announcement and that was the new worldwide initiative of ‘’He is the Gift.’’ I hope that you guys have heard all about this but here are some links if you do not know what is going on.

We had a great presentation. And we are challenged to send this initiative to everyone!! We have tons of pass along cards and we are going to be giving our all to share those and the video that came out. I would like to invite all of you if you haven’t seen the new video that you can all see it. Day by day into this next and special month we can reflect more on the savior than ever before. He is the gift!!

 We have some awesome activities planned for this. We are going to be doing a public booth presentation as a zone; we will be doing a big Chapel presentation and putting posters up around the city. It’s going to be quite the time for us.

Alrighty guys, that’s about it for this week. I feel bad that I can’t get too much out there. But that’s all the time I’ve got. I love you all so much. I miss you tons especially in this wonderful season. Thank you for all that you do. Until next week.

Elder Ethan Haws

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Week 61

Hey guys. Another week down... This time with a lot of new surprises, visits from the past, and so many opportunities for good things.

This week in Concé has been incredible and completely shocking. First off, Concé is big and overwhelming. It is unlike any other sector that I have ever been in. It’s like working in a downtown ghetto kind of place. I find it very interesting.

So Elder Bird and I left Chillán in a sudden transfer. It was both hard for us to leave everyone there. We set off early the next morning and we were both off to our new sectors. We arrived in Concé to a slight drizzle of rain and Elder Stockford met up with me. We called a taxi right away and we headed to our apartment building. We got up there and I started to unpack. We live in an apartment! Woohoo!! It is SO nice seeing carpet again!!! It is a big and spacious complex. We have 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a nice kitchen, a washing machine with a dryer, and an open room with our beds! It is the best house that I’ve been in during my whole mission. I feel so blessed. We live in the house with two other latinos, Elder Castellon from Bolivia and Elder Letelier from Viña del Mar, Chile. During the first 4 days of the week we also lived with 2 other elders but they had to move to the assistant's house (assistants to the president). During the week we had a good time in the house and there is already a good relationship between all of us.

Elder Stockford is from Oregon. He is 19 and has 6 weeks less than I do in the mission. He is a very straightforward person. It is very unexpected coming from him at first glance. He is a bit taller than me, wears glasses, has short brown hair and loves to laugh. He is going to be a good companion, I am excited to have the chance to get to know someone else. He loves music just like me!! His specialty is percussion and he is stinking good from what I have seen. It is cool to have a lot in common with a companion. He is the first companion that I’ve actually had something in common with!

The week was crazy. I am real close to my first sector, Villa Nonguen. I spent some time thinking back on those days. Those were good times.

On Tuesday we were preparing for district class, and Elder Stockford pulled me aside and told me someone wanted to meet me. We walked outside and what do you know, Cristian Moya was waiting. Cristian is a guy that was in Villa Nonguen. He is the brother of Jenny Moya. The Reyes Moya family was one of the coolest families in the entire sector. Cristian stayed with Jenny and her family for some time when I was there and apparently not too long ago he moved here to downtown. We saw each other and I gave him a big 'abrazo.' We couldn't believe it. It was cool seeing that he still remembered me and that our friendship still lives on. It was cool being able to speak with him with no problems. The last time I was with him, I had been in the mission for a little over 4 months. I still didn't know Spanish at all. But now, knowing Spanish, It was great to catch up on things.

On Sunday we went out and worked with him, visiting a few people here and there. While we were out there Jenny Moya called and I got to talk to her and her son Tommy. It was SO awesome getting to talk with them. I am so grateful to have such amazing relationships with so many cool people.

So the main part of the sector that we work in is this little ghetto part of the city that has a ton of flaites. It is the most distinct sector that I have ever had. It has been interesting. Due to Elder Stockford being direct and sometimes a little more.... persistent (aggressive) we saw a lot of crazy things. We had people scream at us rejecting us at their doors, the craziest contacts with drunk people, and here and there we found some good people. There is a lot of big apartments that we go and contact. And around the area there are big soccer fields and dirt roads. There is also a big hill with a famous tower on it that is famous in the mission. I will be going up there one of these days. We spent most of the time entering these apartments and knocking doors. That is how we are finding the majority of the people. There is a lot of crazy drunks that roam around here so just get ready to hear some funny stories over the next couple weeks.

My new district leader is good ol' crazy Elder Garcia. It’s been a while since I’ve seen him too. He is still the same crazy Colombian that I used to know. It will be fun working with him as well.
We have a cool ward mission leader. He owns a cool sandwich shop called 'Planet Sandwich'. (that's another weird thing that still surprises me. For a lot of the brands, restaurants, and other various things they use a lot of English terms and phrases. I don't know why they just don’t stick to Spanish). He is young and a returned missionary. It is great seeing that we have someone that is willing to work and that is excited about it. It will be great having someone that is a bit more connected.

We have our ward soccer activity every Thursday night. We had some good games going. In the last game, I scored the goal to win it all. It was awesome! It feels good when everyone comes in screaming ''GOLAZO'' and celebrating.

Today we went to a soccer field with artificial turf. It’s the same one we went to when I lost my wallet (if any of you remember that story). Thankfully I didn't lose anything this time. PHEW... But it was a great game. I also got to talk with my good ol' companion Elder Martinez. He is now in Collao. He just left Retiro last week. He left it going good. He baptized various people, and now there are 52 people attending church on average. It was good to catch up with him as well. During the week it has been awesome catching up with so many people that I have known. I feel like at last I have a good group of friends and I know most of the mission now!

Alright, that’s all I’ve got. They cut down our time to be in the Cyber on Mondays. So I’ll talk to you all next week! I love you all so much! Thank you all for keeping me updated. I miss you and love you all!

Elder Ethan Haws

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 60

Here we are. Another transfer cycle down. The week was crazy. It was a big push to leave the sector up and running for the end of the transfer cycle.

But, boy did we receive news today..... I will explain later.

The week was good. We made some progress with investigators (AT LAST).

So here is the main story with investigators.

You probably don't remember that Elder Bird and I started teaching a lady named Edita and her son Cristobal a while back, but we found them and had a good first lesson and such but we had to drop them for a time because they were busy building a second floor to their house.
Last Saturday we went back and visited them. We had a great lesson. They listened to us and payed attention during the lesson and participated. They had shared with missionaries before but didn't quite get baptized because they thought that if they got baptized, Cristobal would be obligated to serve a mission.

Edita is like 50 years old or something and her son Cristobal is 24. Edita is a very nice lady who doesn't believe in churches but she believes in God. She is interested to know if our church could be true.

Cristobal is really cool. He speaks English better than any other Latino that I have met here in the mission. He is studying in the University of Concepcion. He likes video games and has a pretty chill personality.

We visited them on Wednesday and Friday and they both were good lessons. We mostly talked about the restoration and the role of Jesus Christ. We committed them to baptism and they accepted to prepare.

Edita came to church on Sunday! That was a huge success for us. We finally have someone progressing in the church. 

Our main achievements with less actives were 2 things.

1. We are still working with Carol, the inactive lady we found last week. We had a good lesson this week and are happy that she is progressing so fast and has a big desire to go to church despite knowing nearly nothing about the gospel. It is a good opportunity for us to find more people to teach and to see miracles in her life.

2. At church, we saw a miracle. Jennifer Candia is a less active that Elder Bird has been working with for his entire time here. She has had problems with the members, and has had some sad experiences. She confided in us and explained the whole situation and it is complicated. She had a giant testimony of the church and still has the desire to go, she just has a hard time dealing with the things that have happened. To our surprise she showed up to church this week at the last part. We were shocked and thrilled.

Chillán was hot this week. The temperatures are rising to the low 90's and high 80's. With all the humidity it feels so much worse. I'm just used to being in the dry-as-a-bone desert.

We did a lot of service this week. We helped some families clean up their patios, and even painted the Vergara's fence. Giving service is always a highlight for me.

So turns out for cambios we are seeing something pretty unusual. First off. Elder Bird is leaving the sector to Concepción. He will be in a part called ´´Laguna Redonda.'' Now since there has been fewer missionaries coming into the mission and more people finishing the mission, our numbers aren't able to sustain so many sectors. Not only is Elder Bird leaving the sector, but I am as well. I will be heading off to Downtown Concepción. I even believe that Elder Bird and I will be working in the same chapel. It was a shock for us. Our sector is now closing down. Elder Hampton and Vazquez are going to have to hold down the fort here in Coyquen and balance all of the stuff they have in their sector, and take all of our converts, less actives, and investigators. I still can’t believe how crazy it all is.

With all this shock it is hard for me to describe what else this effects in the sector. We were seeing a lot of progress recently, and finally seeing connections and relations with the people we have been working with. This will be a shorter letter because there is nothing else to describe but shock! I am excited to be going down to Concé and getting to know that area now. I am in for some good times. I feel like Chillán has helped me grow up EVEN MORE. I am ready to take the mission by the reigns and make it all that I can.

Thank you for all that you guys do for me. I love you all so much. I love hearing from you and talking with you (on email). I am so grateful for all the prayers. I feel them lifting me up. I know that the gospel is true and it is our crutch in our hardest times. God will always lift us up in the end if we just stretch out our hand. I am now in for many more adventures and many more good times. Until next week.

Elder Ethan Haws

Monday, November 10, 2014

Week 59

This week was interesting. It may have been really low on the outward numbers, but we figured out a lot of things that Elder Bird and I needed to learn in our companionship. It was a week of few ‘’numbers,’’ but full of work.

Nevertheless we did see some great progress with the less actives that we have been working with. We are at least very happy with that. The hardest thing for us right now is our investigators. They are dropping like flies. We took this week very hard because the people we had hope for suddenly hit barriers and are slowing down dramatically. It was a hard week all in all.

Here are some things that are happening with our main investigators:

Last week she took off with her brother to who knows where. She has been gone since then. Her neighbor said that she would be back soon but she still hasn’t returned. This makes nearly 6 weeks being absent in total. We are soooooooo close to dropping her because it is very difficult to help her while she is running off so frequently.

 Sandra Benz:
Sandra has developed some bad arthritis in her knee. Nearly all of the ligament, tendon, and fluid in her knee have disappeared. The doctors say her joint is now nearly bone to bone. Now that she can barely walk, it is impossible for her to climb the stairs to get to the (what is it called…. Sacrament room?) on the second floor. She wants to go to church, but she is kind of disabled because of her knee.

We had a visit with him this week on Friday. We were very direct again. This time we went there without Jose Arias. We asked him about church, and he said he didn’t feel anything or feel anything different like he always does. We talked a bit more and we came down to the point that he doesn’t have any interest at all to find out if God really exists or if anything about the church is important. He doesn’t recognize the importance of anything spiritual. We talked a lot about how spiritual things do exist, how Christ is our savior, and how these things can change our lives. The lesson was really powerful. The spirit was present in the house. The usual hectic atmosphere in the house, caused by the younger sibling, disappeared. The house was quiet and the spirit bore witness. It is tough because Jonathan doesn’t pay attention to his feelings, especially the spiritual ones.

He ended up staying at a friend’s house for the whole weekend. He didn’t show up to soccer or to church.

Less actives:

Camila Candia

These are some less actives that Elder Bird has been working with for his entire 6 months here in Chillán. They haven’t once gone to church. Regardless, they are incredible people. I have had some great visits with them during my time here. This week we invited Elsa Soto to come by with us to visit them. She is one of the original members that were here when the ward started, and they knew this family very well. We went by and had a great lesson. We talked about how important the sacrament is and how much of a blessing it is in our lives. It was another great, spiritual lesson.

To our surprise they showed up to church this week. Elder Bird was ecstatic and I was too. 

Our biggest challenge was our plans that fell. There were hardly any members that could accompany us at our appointments. Our plans were pretty filled with lots of things to do, but all of those things kept on falling, it made a very stressful week.

When all the pressure built up, the tension built up between Elder Bird and I as well. Through conflicts and being pushed to breaking points we were able to work out other things in our companionship. I think the stress came this week for a reason. And that was for me to learn a valuable lesson. Mom sent me an article from the Liahona or something at the beginning of my mission with some advice to missionaries on it. The first point was the theme for the week and the biggest lesson I learned. It said something along the lines of ‘’No matter what happens learn to love your companion.  There is a huge correlation between success and the relationship you have with your companion.’’ To me that has been 100% true for me in my mission. I think these weeks and nearly my whole mission have been up and down due to that principle. But, It’s not the only thing that affects it. Diligence, obedience, and serving with your heart is all part of it. But I am glad that I now know how important it is to resolve conflicts and love your companion no matter what. I think it also extends beyond that. It can apply to marriage, family relationships, and can help the quality of our social groups. I think that if we learn how to work with others well and always show Christ-like love to all, we will always be successful.

 ‘’Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

 38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’’
(Matthew 22:39)

We are looking forward to a great week. All the visits we lost this last week were pushed to this week. It is also 99% probable that Elder Bird will be leaving this next Monday. We will be working very hard to enjoy these last few moments as a companionship.

We had a good soccer game on Saturday. Finally with a good team, I was able to score some goals! I'm getting better!! THERE IS STILL HOPE!  The sun is getting more intense to lead us into summer. Elder Bird and I are as red as lobsters! We are so sun burnt.

We had to stop going to the gym this week because it was interfering with our schedule too much. Although I was seeing some serious improvements in that short time, I will just have to postpone the good old gym till after the mission.

Not too much of a long message this week, but there isn’t too much to report. Thank you so much for all you do for me. I love you all so much. I love hearing from you weekly and seeing what is going on in your lives! Thank you! I love you and miss you tons!! Until next week.

Elder Ethan Haws