Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Week 17

This Saturday will mark 4 months in the mission for me. I cannot believe it.  I am so happy to hear from all of you every week. It lifts me up and I am so grateful for all your support and all your love. I cannot thank you enough.

This week has been very interesting. We worked a lot. We tried everything we could to find new people. We tried, experimented, and analyzed every little thing about our work. We've created plans and specific ways for our schedule to work so that we can find the people that are prepared to receive the gospel.


A really average P day. We had a nice relaxing day getting ready for the week. Elder Layton went on a cleaning spree once again. Our house is looking nice! We left to work that afternoon and left with the grandfather of the Ferreira family. He showed us where an inactive and part member family lives. We set up a visit for the next Tuesday. We contacted, and worked really hard to find people the rest of the day.


We had a special district class because Elder Layton and I were the only ones who were able to bring someone to church with a baptismal date. It was an intense set of workshop oriented classes. We were all fired up as a zone. After that, Elder Ramirez and I had a mini cambio. It was a long day. It was the hottest day so far in Nonguen. I think it peaked at 30 degrees celcius with 100% humidity. We were dying. Nevertheless, we went at it and worked. I scrambled around with my plans, and it felt like Elder Ramirez was just kind of observing me the whole day. At moments it was frustrating because things just fell through and I didn’t know what I really could do. We had a so so lesson with Armando and Rosa and nothing really got accomplished other than giving them a strong commitment to pray for an answer about the Book of Mormon and the church. We returned after a long day in the heat and we talked about the day. Elder Ramirez told me that my Spanish sucked and I have hardly made any improvements. It destroyed me. I just quietly finished planning and went to bed.


We changed back into companionships and got back to work as usual. With a humbled heart, I pushed as hard as I could to find people. We went up this huge hillside in sector D. We found a few decent future investigators and had some good visits with some members. It was a really foggy and eerie looking kind of day. Elder Layton wasn’t feeling his best either.


We had a really usual day to start. In the morning we had a meeting with our newly moved in and newly called Elders quorum president. He is completely new here and is really fired up to get to know Nonguen, the ward, and fire up missionary work here. We discussed how we can get the members involved and how they can help us find more people. We also discussed how we can get the ward to be more self- sufficient. It was great and us three are really excited to get things rolling. The afternoon was good. We were knocking doors in Independencia and we found a less active family. The 18 year old girl has recently felt the need to go back to church but she didn’t want to go alone. We found them in a time of need and had a great lesson. It was a cool experience. We left with the relief society president and tried to go visit some people she knew. None of them really panned out. We then visited a few members and finished the night up.


I had my first interview with President Arrington that morning. It was amazing. We talked about a bunch of stuff and about how I’m doing. He gave me some great pointers and I left there feeling lifted up and ready to work. It’s been a bit hard to work as hard as we could because Elder Layton has been going through some health issues and never really feels stable or good. He is always deathly tired and we are going to be doing some medical tests this week to find out what’s really wrong with him.

With renewed confidence we left to work. We visited a few members and got a few references. We also had a great lesson with an old investigator and his girlfriend, Felipe and Vivana. We taught about the plan of salvation and they were really receptive. The spirit was powerful and it went over well.

We looked for people to teach the rest of the day. We realized towards the end that contacting was just not leading us to find anyone. We were just losing time. We returned to our house and made some adjustments and worked out a plan to better find people to teach.


We did a bit of service in the morning cutting some grass and throwing some rocks. That did Elder Layton in. His body didn’t take it well. And he had to take it easy for half the day. We left for the latter part, and visited Miriam, Armando and Rosa, and one of our new investigators Lisseth. It turned out to be a better day. We didn’t get Lisseth to accept a baptismal date, but she accepted to go to church.


Good day. We had a good church meeting. The only investigator who could come turned out to be Andrea. We haven’t been able to visit them in 2 weeks so it was amazing to still see her committed to go to church. They are a very committed family. We had good meetings and we had an opportunity to invite people to work with us this week. We got a lot of people to accept. We were really excited. We had a great lunch with the Ojeda family and had a great weekly planning session. After that we had a great lesson with Andrea and Marcelo. They aren’t really familiar with any kind of religion so we broke things down to the basics and we talked about Jesus Christ and his gospel. The spirit was strong. We also discussed about their situation about not being married. Turns out that the only reason that they aren’t is because they just never got around to it and Andrea wanted to be married in a church. We talked about eternal families and the blessings of that. They now want to get married. It was great. We visited the Chaves family and the Ruminot family. It was a great night.


We haven’t done much today. I got a haircut and we cleaned up and got here in the centro. That’s about it.

This week was kind of lack luster to be honest. Like I said, we’re finally going to see what’s wrong with Elder Layton and get things rolling in Nonguen. This is the last week of the cambio so I’m going to give it all I have.

I know this letter is kind of short but there really isn’t much to talk about this week. I still want you all to know how much I love you and appreciate you. You are everything to me. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be in Chile. It is a blessing to be with these people. I love them. I love the gospel and the happiness it brings. I love my Heavenly Father. I love my Savior. He is my friend. I am so grateful for his atonement.

Until next week! I love you all! Have a great week.

Elder Ethan Haws

Week 16

A street in Puchacay

Wow! Time is going by soooooo fast. I cannot believe how quickly everything is rushing by. It feels like hours feel like years but days and weeks feel like seconds. It is the craziest thing.

This week has been a ton of fun. Elder Layton and I are getting along like the best of friends and we continue to work hard, as hard as we can push it. This week had its good times, but it’s down times as well. We tried everything we could possibly think of but we didn’t have much success finding anyone this week. Despite the trouble we had with getting members to work with us and actually finding people, amazing things happened as well.

Elder Garcia or Mr. Muscles?
Elder Layton or Stretch Armstrong?
Elder Bluebeard?
Roll-playing Around; Elder "angry" (Garcia) rebukes the old beggar (Elder Haws)

I made some serious progress in Spanish this week. I don’t know when or how but my mind just clicked in a few areas, and now I feel really comfortable in basic conversation and I can pretty much understand almost everyone. It’s a really crazy feeling being able to converse in two languages on and off.

Here's how the week went.

Regular p day really. We did everything in the centro like we usually do and headed back to the house. We got back and then Elder Layton started to feel super sick again. He was down and out for another two days. The same flu like symptoms attacked him and he wasn’t doing so hot. He talked with our mission nurse, Hermana Balden, and they talked a few things through. He might have to go to a doctor to get some blood tests done because he really never feels 100% well.


Sick again. We had to stay home and stay on the down low.


Elder Layton arose and well enough to work. So that’s what we did. We worked, and hard. We contacted a ton of people but nothing really panned out. We ended the day with a family home evening at the Campos family. They’re a less active family and we were able to watch ´´John Tanner´´ and eat some churri pan's... (like monkey bread)  que rico los churri panes... (how wonderful the monkey bread). We had a good time.


We had a service project in the morning at the Campos family. Because of the forest fire in Nonguen everyone is freaking out that everything is going to burn up. So everyone wants to cut down all the vegetation that their houses are built around. So for the service we climbed this giant steep mountain side and cut down all the vegetation in a specific area. It was good fun swinging an axe around for a while. We had fun with it. After, we had an amazing lunch with the Ferreira’s.
That afternoon we went around in sectors A and B and we tried to visit some familiar, old, and new investigators. We visited less active families and some recent converts as well. We were running around working really hard. Again not much panned out with investigators. But we were able to have a few good visits with some less active families.


We had some good lessons with our recent converts Miriam, Lidia, Matias, and Ignacio. Those all went good. We also had a meeting kind of deal with a member family. We got their support for more involvement in mission work, and we are excited for the new opportunities we discussed there. We looked and contacted for nearly the rest of the day. We were able to have some good conversations with people, but no one let us in. To finish off, we visited with the Ojeda family and had a great lesson.


We had a bit of service in the morning with the Aburto family. We dug a couple holes for some fence posts. Good fun.

We hit it hard because we were desperate to find someone that is prepared to receive us and the gospel. We went up into the far end of Nonguen up in Puchacay. We went around the tumbling hills of that area for a long time. Again we had some great conversations and some quick teaching moments but not much came out of it. Everyone rejected us. We headed back to the heart of the sector and looked some more and talked with everyone. We had an awesome visit with the bishop and we brainstormed some great ideas for the ward.


Was super stressful because I had to give my first full sacrament talk in Spanish and teach gospel doctrine class. I didn’t have much time to prepare since the topics were given to me on Saturday. But I spoke on the Book of Mormon and missionary work, and taught about the organizations of the priesthood. My talk didn’t go very well cause the plans I made fell to pieces. But I feel like the class was better. I’m realizing that I have a lot more courage to do things now. I have been to the point where I couldn’t have been more hopeless, so I’ve learned to just give it all I got, learn from it, and do better the next time. Church was good. We were able to get Armando there, but Rosa had to stay behind and watch the family or something. Without being able to visit Andrea and Marcello, they still showed up with the pamphlets and their Book of Mormons. It’s crazy how diligent they are. I am shocked how some people are so diligent and so prepared but others are really lazy and slothful and don’t want to do anything ever. The afternoon was a lot better than any of the days of the week. We were able to actually have a few lessons. We scaled up the hill of Buena Vista and found quite a few people. We felt really content with it and now we finally feel like things are starting to turn up.

This week was hard in some ways but after all that happened it still feels like it wasn’t that bad. I have faith that we will find the people we need to find. We will continue to work really hard.
Watermelon is in season here in Chile. Apparently when something is in season, there are TONS of it. Almost every single place we went to we were served a heaping chunk of watermelon. Not just a bowl of cubes of the watermelon like everyone eats it in the states, but literally just a fourth of the watermelon and you just eat it with a spoon. I’ve had enough watermelon to last me a life time. And I love it, the watermelon here is ridiculously delicious.

I’m really excited that my Spanish is catching on a bit. I’m really excited that since its better I can lift my voice even higher.

This week we have some great service projects planned almost every day, and I will have a mini cambio with the zone leaders. It should be a fun week coming up.

I love all of you and I am so grateful for all of your support. I can’t express my gratitude for all of you. You are all in my thoughts. There really isn’t anything I can say that fits my feelings for you all. I love you all so much. Have a great week! Until the next,

Elder Ethan Haws

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Week 15

January 6, 2015

Thanks everyone once again for all your letters and messages. I am so grateful for each and every one of you.  You really are one of the reasons I can hold up through some of the tough times. You brighten up every start of the week. I love each and every one of you and I miss you all so much. It’s still so crazy to me that I’m actually in Chile. It just blows my mind sometimes. This week I kept on thinking how much of a blessing it is to be here. I couldn’t be more grateful for this opportunity to serve in this amazing country.

This week was really good. Wow, we worked so hard. I am amazed at the blessings we have received and the moments Elder Layton and I have experienced.

On Monday, we were tired of just not having any quality investigators. We have been longing for some people who have been prepared to hear the gospel. We started off the week on a good foot. We committed to talk to EVERYONE. With no exception to who they were and if they were in a hurry or not. We worked so hard on Monday afternoon. We contacted and contacted and contacted. Eventually we had quite a list of people to visit. Throughout the day we met a ton of people. We were finishing up a bit, and were looking for a few more people when a lady and her 14 year old son were walking down one of the streets in A (Las Carerras). We stopped and talked to them and they were amazingly receptive. We asked if they could spare a few minutes and let us share a quick message. The Mom, Andrea, asked her son Marcello if they had anything planned or anything going on, and when they couldn’t think of anything, they accepted. We asked where they lived and they pointed to the house we were standing in front of. We were let in, and we had and amazing lesson. The spirit was able to testify of the simple truths of the Restoration. We invited them to baptism and they accepted to prepare. They strongly committed to go to church, read, and to pray about the gospel. It was quite eye opening for me because they are the first people I have met here that have accepted to do something firmly like that. I am so excited for this family that we met.

We also found this older couple up on the hill of Buena Vista. Their names are Rosa and Armando. They’re about in their 60s and they have great faith. Armando is always super committed to read the pamphlets and live up to commitments as well. He’s getting older and he’s been pretty sick. He has to carry around his oxygen tank and can’t walk much but he’s a great guy. Rosa is pretty quiet but she’s really nice and respectful too. When we first met Armando, we were looking for Rosa. It was New Year’s day and when we contacted the house, he stuck his head out the window wearing a masquerade mask and a hat and a fake plastic tie. It was pretty funny. He just likes to enjoy life and be happy. He’s a great example. One lesson this week, we took Ignacio to help us teach. Man, that kid has a great testimony. I am amazed at what he has learned and the brightness the gospel has brought into his life. He has a valiant testimony. He is an example to me.

Forest fire

Three days ago, a huge forest fire started in the back hills in Nonguen. It’s been raging for days. It’s now just barely getting calmed down. It gave all the people in the sector a nice scare. It looked just like one of the Herriman fires, so it was more of a taste of home for me. Saturday was completely orange because of the smoke in the air. Everything looked orange. It was pretty cool.

This week had its good times. Elder Layton and I are becoming good friends. He really teaches me a ton about life every day. We have hilarious conversations and we are working great as a team. He is super intelligent. I love to hear his perspectives and insights. I really feel like I can accomplish anything I need too with enough determination and faith. I am full of ideas and goals I want to accomplish. Fun things to do and to work on. We are becoming best friends, Elder Layton is a huge example to me.

I’m grateful for the chance that I have had to get to know so many new and amazing people. The people around me are all so inspiring. Truly, I am surrounded by heroes and spiritual giants. It is such a blessing to be here and learn so much about life, the gospel, and everything else you could even think of.

I am anxious to work and do the best I can. I want to be so much better. This last week I have thought and thought about how I can be doing a better job out here as a servant of the Lord.  I feel like I can do a lot better. But all I can do is rely on the Lord to shape me into what I must be. I only have to give my time to him, and let him direct my paths. I rely solely on my Heavenly Father, and my Savior Jesus Christ. Without them I wouldn’t be here. I constantly feel their love and their love for the people that I am serving. They are real. They live. They love us. They want the best for us. No matter how hard things are or how great things are, they are there to share with us those moments. I am so grateful for the knowledge that they live and they know us.

I’m so excited to start this next week. Elder Layton and I had a good one this week. We worked so hard. We went from having practically no progressing investigators to having quite a few. We have been able to find a lot of prepared people. I am grateful for the hand of our Heavenly Father and our Savior in all of our lives.  We are so excited to work and bring the gospel into people’s lives. We have so many possibilities and I have a growing testimony of working through the spirit. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here in Chile with these amazing people. It’s a huge blessing for me to learn be among them.

I am so grateful for all of you and all of your examples. I love all of you more that you can know. You are all inspiration for me. I miss you all and love you so much. Until next week!

Elder Ethan Haws

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Week 14 (December 30, 2013)

Well, here I am again! Another afternoon in the cyber cafe.

This week wasn’t much to be honest. Really nothing great happened and nothing great was really accomplished. But I enjoyed the week very much. 

Was just the regular old p- day. We got ready for Christmas and did some serious deep cleaning in the house. We worked hard in the afternoon and had some good visits. 

Tuesday. Christmas Eve. 
Was really fun. We had district class that morning, and after we had a white elephant activity as a zone. There were some ridiculous gifts like weird glasses and scarves. I ended up getting a small but deadly Nerf gun. Elder Garcia got a crazy bubble gun thing that lights up and makes annoying laser sounds, and the other Elders in my house got candy. 

Elders Garcia and Layton engage in a mean game of laser-bubbles

We had a great lunch with the Neira family. They fed us some huge hamburgers. We visited and had a great lunch.  We worked really hard in our section A that afternoon. I don’t know if it was just because it was Christmas Eve or what, but people were really nice and loving that day. It was a nice change of things. We found a lot of new opportunities for investigators. 

Neira Family

We ended the night having a Christmas dinner with the Reyes family. Unfortunately it took the entire 2 hours to prepare the actual dinner, but we ate in something like 7 minutes flat and had to BOOK IT back to the house to be on time. It was still an incredible night though. I love that family. They are some of my best friends. 

Tommy Reyes "El Viejo Pasquero"

Tommy the "gangster hair stylist"

Wednesday. Christmas Day. 
We had a great Christmas. We woke up and opened my gifts that I received. After reviewing all that I got, we started playing some games and having a great morning. It was a great and peaceful morning. Again, we headed to the Reyes family for some lunch. This time we ate relatively quickly and had some fun. After a great Christmas lunch, we went to the Ferreira family and I got to talk with my family. It was an incredible experience seeing my family in my house and getting to see my yard and everything going on in Utah. I will never forget it. 

Elder Haws on Skype for Christmas

After getting to talk to them for a while we headed to ConcĂ© to have a huge gathering and activity with all the missionaries. Down in the chapel in Glasnier, there was every food you could imagine, people playing soccer outside, and people playing games inside the gym. 

Elders Layton and Haws

Elder Garcia, "the shoulder angel"

Elder Layton and I went inside the chapel and played some music and entertained ourselves with that. We eventually headed back to Nonguen, and tried to place a Book of Mormon. We didn’t really find anyone that night, but while we were out there was a moment where things went quiet, and Elder Layton and I kind of stood there and looked around for a few seconds. He asked if I could feel that spirit and reverence. I quickly responded yes. It was like the spirit was washing down the streets of Chile. It was an incredibly spiritual moment. The spirit bore witness that Jesus Christ was born, and lived and died to save mankind. We both were overcome by the spirit, and felt deep peace and reverence. It was an amazing experience. 

Thursday and Friday
Were tough. Elder Layton got a really really bad case of the flu after lunch on Thursday. He, for two days, looked like death itself. With permission we had to stay in the casa for two days. I felt SO TRUNKY. I felt homesick, and rung out. It wasn’t the best experience. But I studied  and by Friday I was feeling good again. By Saturday morning Elder Layton arose and finally he was feeling better. 
Saturday and Sunday. 

Saturday was good and we worked hard as usual. We had a great lunch that was kind of just a food eating contest. We had a hamburger fest with the Aburto Rico family. We waddled back to the house after that. We found some more possibilities with investigators, and we ended up feeling content with our work. 

Sunday was a good day. Church was strange though. Nearly no one attended church. Its like everyone in our sector has left for vacations. We went from 132 people attending church last week to this week being 70 if we’re lucky. Despite the strangeness of that we had the monthly visite-ton. It’s like a big visit activity where the members of the ward all gather up and go visit less active families and the people who couldn’t come to church. We went out with our ward mission leader and had some good visits. It ended up being good. 

The week was good, but we lost lots of time. Although we didn’t have as much time to work, I feel like I still learned a ton. My Spanish is getting better every day. At times its still really hard, and I occasionally get flustered, but I know it will come. I have faith that it will in its own time. 

It was a good week of reflection and kind of sorting things out in my mind. I haven’t had time for that in the mission so far. It was good to figure out a plan of attack on my skills, talents, learning, and language. I think that these next few weeks are going to be very productive, and I’m going to learn lots. 

The holidays are fun down here. Christmas isn’t too big for the adults, but its huge for the kids. There were tons of decorations. Now the upcoming start of 2014 is the time where adults are celebrating. I think this New Year should be a good time for the Chileans. 

I think it was Saturday that all the dogs flipped out on us. Every dog we came in contact with went after us and tried to attack. Yes, all of them. They added up pretty quickly. I had fun hurling rocks at all of them. I’m going to have to get some squirt guns to complete my arsenal. It’s strange how Satan works though dogs sometimes to distract us.

I’m excited to work hard this week. To fill our goals, were going to have to secure 2 people with a date to be baptized and get them to church on Sunday. We are going to be working for a miracle this week. 

Sorry guys, there isn’t much to write about this week. As much as this letter is short and only a little detailed, that’s how the week kind of went. Next week should be better.

I’m so grateful for all of you and all that you do. I can’t express even a little part of how grateful I am. I love all of you so much. I feel your thoughts and your prayers. Thank you for all that you do and I hope this New Year is going to be incredible for all of us! HAPPY HOLIDAYS! I love you all so much. 

Elder Ethan Haws