Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Week 25

Hey guys!

Oh man, this was a long week of work. Elder Price pushed the work so so hard. We are both really tired. We had a lot of things happen to us. We worked tirelessly and we saw the change in our numbers. This week to be more direct in the letter I’m going to just describe the major events that happened in the day. Just assume that everything else just passed regularly.

After the long week where nothing worked out for us we felt a little better for the day. We  were able to find 3 new investigators. We found a lady named Norma and her Husband Juan. They met with quite a few missionaries in the past and we just discussed how they had liked the missionaries. We set a date to come back on Wednesday. We also found another lady while contacting in Santa Amelia. She let us in and we had a short first lesson. We went over some of the Restoration and that was it. We set up a further lesson on Saturday.

We had an average day. We didn’t have much happen. Because of cambios we had district class postponed till Wednesday. Nothing really changed in the zone except that one of our Zone leaders, Elder Catrón left and now Elder Froerer is now our new zone leader. We worked hard throughout the day and it went by quick. For our final hour we met up with our ward mission leader and we went to visit a member family. It was a cool visit.

We had a crazy day. We started off with having an incredible district class. Elder Hancock, our district leader taught us about giving our all into the work. It was very spiritual. We then had a mini cambio. Elder Hancock went to Retiro to work, and I switched him spots to work in Parral with Elder Allred. I had a crazy day in Parral. Since the sector is so big, we had to ride our bikes all day. I was shocked how out of shape I am. I once rode 144 miles from the Grand Tetons to Bear Lake on a bike. Wednesday seemed worse. I am out of shape. Elder Allred is pretty experienced. He only has one last month of his mission. We had crazy lessons and I’ve never had to teach and talk so fast in my life. It was awesome. We ended having a really cool noche de hogar (family home evening) with a family, and we made some good cookies from a recipe from Elder Allred. On our way back home we had to ride back in the dark down some dark streets. We turned down one, and out of no- where a pack of vicious dogs came out and attacked us. These were no small dogs. The pack leader was this big black one. You could see the evil in its eyes. It wasn’t out to play, it was out to kill. It tried to knock Elder Allred off his bike multiple times but he was able to pedal away. It then switched to me and I had to kick for my life. It was so intense. Eventually it gave up and we got home as quick as we could.

We finished up the mini cambio and I got the good news that Elder Hancock and Price were able to find a ton of cool people the day before. We went out and worked hard. We contacted tons and built on the new energy we got from the mini cambios. Towards the end of the night, our plans started to fall. We switched to just contacting and I felt like we should go down a specific street that was within our sight. We went door to door, and eventually we came to a house with a nice little gate and shouted our usual ''Halo.'' Within a few seconds a lady walked out and we were able to talk for just a bit. To me, at first, I thought we had found a members house and she was just excited to talk to us missionaries. Then Elder Price asked, ''What’s your name?'' I looked over in surprise realizing that she was a contact. We asked if we could share a message, and she let us right in. Their family is way cool. They have four kids, and they, the parents, Nancy and Galvarino, have plans to get married. We were stoked to find them. They are really cool people. We just started with how to begin teaching and we set another visit for Saturday.

Originally we had an incredible day planned to visit all the people we had found through the week. To our disappointment, almost all our plans failed. It wasn’t the best day. It was really hard.

We were determined to finish up the week strong. We went around on bikes that day. Just after starting the day, we found a couple that lives close to us. They let us right in, and we had a good first lesson. We got to know them and we set another visit for next Tuesday. We rode all around Retiro. We explored a lot of the more campo parts of the sector. We talked with a ton of people. To end the night it was our turn to clean up the chapel. We cleaned it up and prepared it for church in the morning.

We had a good but disappointing church meeting. Out of the people we had invited and committed to church, no one showed up. It was a disappointing blow to all the tireless work we had done through the week. We had our planning sessions and went out to work for the day. We did mostly contacts through the day to get our goal of 140. We had a branch meeting and we made some good plans to get this rama (branch) going.  Our numbers at church are dwindling. We have to reach out to the less actives, converts, and the new converts. It’s going to be a lot of work to get the branch going again.

We finished out the week finding 11 new people to teach. It was a huge difference for us. We are so excited to have these new options and these new opportunities to share the gospel. It’s going to be a very very busy week. It’s gonna be a lot of fun.

The weather is starting to turn. It’s strange to feel cold now. I haven’t had a winter season in a year now. It’s definitely turning fall. I better enjoy these blue skies in Retiro. In the winter it will become constantly cloudy and it will never stop raining, (so I’ve heard).

I’m ready for another go at getting a good week. It’s going to be a tough one. Our leaders are putting a lot of trust into us. A lot is weighing on us to get people to church. It is a big challenge we are facing! It’s exciting to see the work that needs to be done, and then to realize that through our Heavenly Fathers help, I can truly receive the divine assistance I need to get it done. I am so grateful for our Heavenly Father and the care he gives us. I am so grateful for the Savior and the support and the strength he gives. I rely completely on the strength he gives me.

 I am so grateful for all of you. I love you guys so much. You are everything to me. I appreciate all of your prayers. I feel them as I work.

I look forward to hearing all that happens this week. I hope all is going well at home. I love you and miss you. Until next week.

Elder Ethan Haws

Week 24

Churrasco sandwich

Hello Family!

Thank you guys for your messages you sent me and all the inspiration you give me. I love you guys so very much. The stories you sent were amazing about Heidi and Logan. That is a powerful witness. Thanks for all the other updates, it’s so good to hear what’s been going on.

This week was ok. In terms of the success we had, we didn’t have much. It was a relatively slow week. We're restarting here in Retiro. The investigators that we had when I got here aren’t really progressing. The excitement of the members is falling. Things have been declining in progress and people are starting to not go to church. When I got here everyone said that Retiro needed a new start. They still say it. It’s what Elder Price and I are trying to do. However, it hasn’t been easy to start so far. Our numbers this week were really low because our main focus was finding new people to teach. Throughout the week we didn’t get into more than 3 houses. It was hard facing all the rejection but it’s just part of the process. This week we are ready to face the challenges and work with everything we have to find those who are waiting for us.

P-day was good. We had a fun activity in Parral. Our zone is in Parral and the zone leaders and district leaders work there. Retiro is just a little off shoot of the zone. We played some soccer and ate some Argentinan Mayonessa... (breaded meat sandwiches). We bought groceries and headed back. We wrote letters in the cyber here in Retiro and got ready to work. I had a good afternoon. We met a recent convert, German. He’s 15 years old and he is one cool kid. I’ve become friends with him pretty quick. While we worked throughout the day our plans fell. We turned to contacting a ton of houses. I don’t know what happened, but my Spanish starting working really good. I started to say things naturally. It felt really cool. I realized the more I am myself and the nicer and friendlier I am with people, the more receptive they are to us missionaries.... Go figure! We found a lot of futures and we felt content. That night as we finished we stopped by a little shack that sells completos and stuff. Elder Price introduced me to what they call a Churrasco.  It’s the best sandwich known to mankind!

We had a so so day. We had a great district class, and had a good lesson on verification. We were able to continue to visit a lot of members, recent converts and less actives. Like the Saldañas, and the rest of German's family. Not much else turned out for us.

We did a ton of contacts. We went around one of our main areas in the sector called Santa Amilia. We found a few futures but didn’t find as much as we had hoped. That night we had a great family home evening with a less active family called the Campos. We had a great lesson on the Atonement. Then we had a huge feast of Sopaipillas! The next morning we had to be in Chillan for zone conference. We had to take a taxi over to Parral and spend the night over there. It was the worst night’s sleep I’ve ever had. They gave us a mattress and that was it. It was freezing cold and I slept for no more than two hours.

We woke up early and headed to the conference in Chillan as our zone. Elder Zeballos from the 70 was there and he gave a great talk about giving our best efforts. He also spoke on a lot of things about our mission work and it really impacted me. I felt the spirit so strong. We had a good lunch in the gym right after and then headed home to Retiro. We went out to work for the rest of the afternoon. Our plans kept falling so we went around trying to visit a lot of people. We contacted once again but everyone was 'busy'. We had a good planning session that night and were ready for Friday.

It was a really long day. We hit it so hard. We ended up with a solid 32 good contacts. I can’t count how many people we actually talked with. We contacted and contacted and contacted. But no one let us in until our set appointment with a new investigator named Rodrigo. We met him on Monday while getting Churrasco’s and he invited us over. We were stoked. When we got in, he had prepared a full on once for us. Rodrigo and his wife, Carla are pretty young they’re like 23... We had a great night and we hit it off well. We shared the Restoration and invited them to church, to read, and to pray. We were exhausted after the long day but were so excited to have new investigators!

We had an ok day, we didn’t have too many lessons. We visited the dad of the Saldaña family and German and mostly contacted the rest of the day. We tried to visit as many people as we could to get them to church. We tried to visit but most people just weren’t there.

On Sunday morning, our branch president, President Uribe called and assigned me to give an unspecific talk. I had to choose the.. how do you say it in English... la tema? (help dad)....... (the topic) and I chose to give it on conversion in preparation for the second coming. I prepared it in the 30 minutes we had for study in the morning. I was able to give the talk and I don’t know what happened but the ideas just flew out and I was able to speak what I wanted. It was amazing. I felt really good about that talk. It was so much better than the first I had to give. We had to teach Sunday school on the atonement as well. We had a good combined last hour on repentance. I learned a lot. 29 people came to church today. We had lunch with a couple Alejandro and Evelyn. They are investigators still but they know the church is true. They even want to pay tithing. They just need to get married. They gave us some deep fried fish and tons of fruit. We planned for the week and went out to work. We went around but everyone was out of town or with family over. We eventually went to German's and shared a good lesson out of the book of Enos. I love that chapter in the book of Mormon.

We have had a really relaxed day here in Retiro. We cleaned the house a bit. Went to Parral, and Elder Price bought a guitar. We are now here in a cyber by the main street here in Retiro writing letters. It’s been good fun.

This week was really long and we worked pretty hard. But things didn’t really work out like we wanted. I’m learning a lot about what giving your all is and what it means to be a successful missionary. I’m learning a lot about how to restart a branch. It’s really a blessing to be here in Retiro. I’m learning things so much faster day by day. I feel my language is starting to take shape, and working by the spirit is becoming clearer to me. I truly feel my Saviors love for the people I serve. I love them. I am so blessed to be a missionary here in Chile. I love the lord. I love this gospel. I am so grateful for my calling. I love you all and I hope your week goes great.

Elder Haws

Monday, March 3, 2014

Week 23

Well, I actually have big news for a change. I’m now far far away from my first sector, Nonguen. On Thursday morning Elder Layton received a call from the Presidents assistants. I received news that I would have to be transferred to a tiny tiny town named Retiro at the top of the mission boundaries. I had to pack immediately to depart the next morning.

This week has been a really strange week going through the emergency transfer. I don’t know why I was sent here to Retiro, but it is what it is.

I’ll give a brief summary of what happened this week.

We had a normal day. I got a haircut, bought a charango, and had a relaxing p-day. We had some visits with the members of our ward and were able to visit a few less actives. But the main visit was with Reynato and Patricia. They have been investigating the church and visiting with the missionaries for some time now. We hadn’t been able to visit them for a while because they had been gone for most of the summer break. We had a great visit and re-committed them to keep praying to know if Joseph Smith is a true prophet and if the church is true. We ended the lesson, and continued on. While we walked to our next visit, we asked ourselves, ''Why aren’t they members already?''

Elder Layton woke up and had more excitement than I’ve ever seen him have. He said something like, ''I still feel absolutely terrible, but I’m not going to care about it anymore, I’m just going to enjoy what I’m doing regardless.'' It was a huge example to me to not complain or feel down because every minute that passes is a chance we have to smile and laugh; to enjoy the time. We had an amazing zone class that morning. We focused on how the atonement helps us as missionaries and how we can apply it into the work we do. It was very spiritual. We were all very inspired. We had a good afternoon. We started off our day of work and visited the Burgos Flores family. After, we visited the Campos family and contacted a ton of people. We had a correlation as missionaries at the capilla that night and practiced our performance for the talent show on Friday. We made an arrangement of Nearer my God to thee, for the Charango, Ukelele, the Zampoña, and us singing. It went really well.

We had to go to the office for part of the morning because Elder Layton and one of the office Elders, Elder Gillespie, are practicing a musical number for a conference we will have this coming week. So for the morning we were there. We finished and headed back to the house and studied. Since the hermana couldn’t host us for lunch, she dropped it off at our house and we were able to stay inside and relax a bit. It was nice, I love having lunches in the house. For the afternoon we started off by visiting Joanni, a 13 year old recent convert. He’s a cool kid and we just verified how he has been doing in church things. For the majority of the day we visited people all over the giant hill of Buena Vista. We visited a new family of investigators; Nora, Omar, and their family. They are really cool people, and I hope they are still progressing. We taught them about the Restoration and committed them to read, pray, go to church and to be baptized. They didn’t accept a baptismal date yet but they want to think about it. We visited a few more people including Javiera and her family and Patricio Maldonado, a member of our Elders quorum.

Like I said, I got the shocking news that I was going to be transferred to Retiro. I couldn’t believe that it was time to go. I had to get right to it. I started throwing all my things together. We had a little service project to do right before lunch so we headed to do that. We helped Nancy Campos cut down some trees on her giant hillside of a backyard. We finished and headed to my last lunch in Nonguen with the Ruminot family. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end off. We had a delicious potato casserole thing and dropped my clothes off to be washed before I left.

Throughout the day we were scrambling around Nonguen saying my goodbyes. We tried to go to as many as possible. I stopped by the Neiras, Cabezas Aburtos, Ignacio, and Miriam and Lidia. It was really hard to say goodbye. When we knocked on Ignacios door and when he came out he knew something was up. I broke the news that I was leaving. He was just as sad or sadder than I was. We became teary eyed and recalled our experiences together. A few moments later his mom, Ivonne came walking up and told us that she had had a long stressful day of work and she couldn’t visit right now. I told her the news and she stopped right in her tracks. To my surprise she began to cry. I began to cry too. She has noticed the change that took place in Ignacio from the gospel. And secretly she has been really grateful to us. She thanked me and we said our goodbyes. My last goodbye was to Miriam and Lidia. We visited them for a bit and recalled our experiences. It was my first house I ever entered in Chile. I learned to love that place. My first lesson was teaching Lidia and through a miracle she accepted to be baptized. It was a day I’ll never forget. I offered one last prayer. By the end we were all crying. We shook hands, cried, and said goodbye. It was so hard.

The elders of Nonguen and Collao
Elders Montana, Duncan, Layton, Sanchez, Haws (left to right)

Woke up early in the morning and finished getting my stuff together, and waited for the assistants. We all took pictures, swapped some ties, and wrote some notes. Elder Layton and I played a last couple songs together on our instruments. Soon enough the assistants arrived. I said goodbye to my good friends Elder Layton, Sanchez, Duncan, and Montaña. I became really close to all those guys. We drove to the bus terminal and they dropped me off. I had to board the bus and ride for 4 hours to Parral. Then meet up with the Zone leaders and meet my new companion Elder Price and head to Retiro. The bus ride was long, but I mostly just napped and read the scriptures.

I’m running out of time to write so I’m going to break this down to the basics.

I got to the terminal in Parral and met the zone leaders along with my new comp Elder Price. We found a bus and headed off to Retiro. We talked and got to know each other. We got to our house and I dropped my bags off. We then walked across a big field to get lunch. The rest of the day we spent it trying to visit members but none really answered. We walked around nearly all our sector because it is tiny compared to Nonguen.
Retiro is a very very small country town. It’s just in the middle of a bunch of country and fields. It’s VERY different than Nonguen. Worlds apart. It’s very relaxed here. There is a lot more space, the houses are nicer, the people as a majority are nicer, there are less dogs, it’s prettier, and I feel very SECLUDED out here. In the distance when there aren’t too many clouds I can see the Andes Mountain range. The mountains are HUGE even seeing them from miles away.

Streets in Retiro


Retiro is just a sleepy town. It reminds me something like Kamas, UT. I’m going to like it here. We don’t have a ward here, we have a branch. On Sunday we had 22 people in church. IT IS TINY. We don’t have too much to work with, but I feel like I have the chance to rebuild the kingdom here in Retiro. We are starting over. I am going to light the flames of the gospel here. I am so excited to start working hard and inspiring all the members who have fallen away and bringing them back to the gospel. Also, to find the people who are waiting to receive the gospel in their lives. It’s going to be a fun time here in good ole’ Retiro.

I am so excited for my second sector to start. I’m giving it all I’ve got to give Retiro a new start. I am so grateful to all of you. I love you all so much. Thank you so much for your support and your inspiring letters and messages to me. I can’t thank you enough! I love you guys! Until next week!

Elder Ethan Haws