Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Week 35

Churango solo?

Wooo! Another week down! Haha! I can’t believe that it has been 35 weeks! Is that real?!
This week was good. It was a pretty solid week for Retiro. No complaints. I felt satisfied with the work that we did.

We had a normal P-day and not much happened in the morning besides shopping and preparing for the week. We were able to visit Eliana the convert and share a message and a video. It was a good visit. We are getting closer with her. She fell away from going to church as soon as the sister missionaries left Retiro. It’s going to be a long climb with her.
We also visited Alejandro and Evelyn that night (The investigators who go to church but just won’t get married). We get along really good. I'm getting to be good friends with Alejandro. We tell lots of jokes and have a good time. We shared a brief message and left to go home.

We had a great district class and we learned more about the section in preach my gospel about “How to Begin Teaching”.  We had a small lunch at our house and got ready for the day.  We went out and worked just like any day. We were able to contact a reference we got from Parral of a woman named Mauricia Fuentes. She was busy at the moment but we set up an appointment for the next day at the same hour. (We tried all week long to contact her again but she was never there. We never got to teach her and that family.)
We were able to talk with Arny, a MA and share a good message about our Savior. It was interesting. She had been going through some rough times with the family, and we visited her at the right time. We also met with our branch mission leader and planned some things for the upcoming week. We finished there and headed home.

Throughout the two days we were able to meet with Bernarda Fuentes, The Campos Family, The Saldaña's, Miriam, and a few other MA's they were pretty regular days of work. We tried all of our investigators but shockingly, ALL of them were suddenly busy. We had planned all the appointments but they all fell.

We were able to get the help of Pancho on Thursday. He is a member from Parral. He is pretty young (I’d say like 20). He likes to help all the missionaries he can, so he came to Retiro to help us out. We went around and visited some members and MA’s cause all our plans for investigators fell.

We headed out to our investigators but they were all busy again. At this point we were keeping up with our contacts so we had found a lot of future investigators, we decided to go and look for some of those people. We could find none of them. We left with Hermano Juan Lastra, and visited German in the afternoon. It was a great lesson and we felt the spirit. Even German's Dad joined in and participated. We taught The Plan of Salvation and used some visuals to help teach (THANKS DAD). They helped a ton.  We had a family home evening planned with some MA, but when we got there they weren't home. We continued through the freezing cold and contacted till the end of the night.

We had the help of Pancho again. We went on a visiting spree and taught 3 MA families. The afternoon went well. We had fun together. All our main plans for the latter part of the day fell. We were left to just visit futures and members. We couldn't find anyone else.

We had a good church meeting. After all the work we had put into visiting the MA this week, only one that we had taught showed up. It was disappointing. It’s really hard staying animated when the same things happens over and over again. It’s definitely a test. We had lunch at Alejandro's and Evelyn's and had fried fish. We had hilarious conversations. We eventually ended and went back to plan.

For the rest of the afternoon, we went and visited members. We are now realizing that the members are our biggest investigators here. They aren't getting along, there are lots of problems between them, and they don't know the gospel. It’s a big burden to carry to start building from the bottom up. We basically have to start all over again, because we are having a hard time finding anyone, and the members don't have any excitement whatsoever.

It is a point to start over really. I’ve hit this same destination over and over here in Retiro. It’s really frustrating. I am going to just have to be humble and directly obey and follow what our Heavenly Father wants done here.

I have gotten pretty discouraged about all these situations. It’s been hard to continue fighting after things just keep going wrong. I have learned a great deal about gratitude here in Retiro. It has really humbled me here. I am so grateful for the slightest sign of the help of the Lord. I am so grateful for His hand to guide us. I know that we can never accomplish this work on our own strength. I now know that we all depend on our Heavenly Father 100%. Not just 99.999% but, yes, 100%. I can do nothing without His help. I have really learned a lot out here. I'm grateful for these things. I am grateful to have another week in front of us. I am so ready to give it my all.

In Ether 12 we read:
 27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

I know that this is true. I know that I am in Retiro to make my weaknesses stronger. I believe that our trials sting so bad because they are actually tailored to us. They are personal. I, for one, feel like my hard times here, are hitting every single one of my weak points. I have a testimony that our Father in Heaven knows us, as well as His son, Jesus Christ. I know that trials are for a reason. There must be opposition in all things. I am grateful for a caring Savior and a Father in Heaven who know me perfectly, and allow me to be tested so that I may be stronger. I know they live. I love them.

Thank you for all you do. I love you more than I can type out or write down. I am so grateful for your support. Thank you all for the birthday wishes. I felt them all. I love you! Until next week!

Elder Ethan Haws

Week 34

Sunset in Retiro

Those numbers keep climbing!  34 weeks down!  Crazy stuff!  It’s already the start of another week.  It’s already been a week since Mother’s day! That is crazy to believe.

The week was better. We saw a little more progress in the members and were able to find some new investigators!  Anyway, this is how it went!

Monday was pretty relaxing for our P day. We didn’t do much besides go to Parral and shop around a bit.  We went there pretty early.  We realized that we had a lot of time to walk around and stuff.  We decided that we would just go and buy our groceries for the week.  While we were at Líder (the Chilean Wal-Mart)we decided to be cool and get a frozen pizza for lunch.  We got home and cooked that pizza up.  Because we don’t have an oven, we just microwaved it.  It only kind of worked.  Oh well.  After a good American lunch we went to the cyber café and wrote our letters. After the letters we got home and prepared and went out to work. Work was pretty normal. We contacted some people and visited a few members. The pizza was the most exciting part of the day.  When we were entering the house our district leader, Elder Hancock called us and informed us that we would have a mini cambio the next day. I would be getting Elder Kemner. He is really new in the mission field with only 3 weeks here in Chile.


We had a great district class. Elder Hancock taught us about extending commitments in a more efficient manner. I enjoyed it a lot. After the class we set off on our mini cambios. Elder Kemner and I headed off on the bus. While we were on our way back to Retiro we introduced ourselves and got to know each other a bit. He’s from Blanding Utah, and was in the military for the last two years doing jump school/training. He has been practicing jumping out of military planes and doing crazy stuff like that!  He’s a Paratrooper.  It took me completely by surprise.  We got to Retiro and dropped off his stuff at the house. We only had 20 minutes till we would cook lunch in our house so we went out and did some contacts for a little while.  When we got back we made a bunch of stuff that we had on hand; a few hamburgers and completos. We finished and prepared for the day. We went out and contacted like madmen.  Elder Kemner and I talked about the fears I had when I first started, and we related to each other a lot. Elder Kemner took courage and went and contacted everybody. It was cool to see. Because of that, we started talking to this older lady in front of her house and she let us in. We had a good lesson and found common ground pretty easy. She is really catholic. We taught a little bit of the Restoration, and invited her to baptism. She wouldn’t agree, but she accepted to read the pamphlet. We continued on our day and had a meeting with our Branch mission leader Luis Ivan, We planned for our upcoming activity on Thursday. We planned a few other things as well like working with members and with less actives. Soon we were out again contacting and making our way to the church to leave with the Uribe boys Pancho (Fransisco) and Felipe. We went to go contact a reference that Pancho had. We walked up to the house on the cold dark alley and an old lady opened the door. We stood there, greeted her, and introduced ourselves. She stood there for half a second and then in mid sentence she slammed the door while she said ''Im busy''. Felipe was shocked.  He didn’t know that kind of thing happens every day with us.  I just turned to him and said. ''Bienvenidos a la misión.'' (Welcome to the mission.) We walked back to Bicentenario and visited a couple other youth in the ward. We finished and finished out the night by taking our clothes to the Abarzua's.

We went around and met with the rest of members that had only been given the invitation to the activity on Thursday. We couldnt find a lot of them in their houses so we had to call them on their phones.  We prepared our activity a little more and did a lot of contacts. None of our investigators were home, so really it was a day of preparation for the activity. 

We had a good lunch with the Bravo Retamal family and had a good conversation. They were excited for the activity. We went around in Santa Amelia and looked for a few references that we had received. We found the one lady out in the street playing soccer with her young son. We set up an appointment with her the next morning. We went around working for the rest of the afternoon and soon enough it was time for the activity. We headed over and set it up. We were going to watch The Joseph Smith movie and have some treats. We waited for a bit and only Miriam and her daughter Estafanìa, The Abarzúas, and the Bravo Retamal family showed up. We watched it and had a good time. It was a good get together.  

That morning we went and visited with one of the families from one of the references. We got in and they had apparently prepared lunch for us. In the family there is the older couple Bernarda Fuentes, and Vinceto. Their son was working but his wife Loreto was there. We had a bit of lunch and shared a few things and got to know them. We hit it off well. We are excited to work with them.

The day was really regular. That night, we went to visit Geraldina and her family. We went in and started to share a message. Surprisingly they opened up to all their doubts. They hardly believe that God even exists. They refused to go to church or commit to anything. It was weird and wasn’t fun for us to see yet another family have so many doubts. We finished up and left to our house. We will still visit them every once in a while but it’s going to be a long and slow process.

We had a really regular day. We tried to go contact some future investigators, but their addresses were all false. We went and visited Eliana. We had a great lesson and shared a couple videos. She really enjoyed it. We are working step by step to help her get back to church. We had a day of just contacting people, and trying to find some more investigators but a lot just didn’t happen. We finished up by meeting with our Branch Mission Leader and cleaning the chapel.  

 We had a good church meeting. It rained in the morning so not very many people showed up. It was frustrating. We planned well for the week and we are very excited to start this next week. We went out and visited some members and ran into the Campos family stacking firewood. We helped them out and shared an awesome message. We are determined to bringing them to church this next week.

We are excited as always to start another week and see what it brings. I have been really learning about one thing these past couple weeks. It is about opening our whole heart to our Heavenly Father and letting our Savior guide our steps. I have been wearing out my knees and trying to see how bad I want to be an instrument in the Lords hands. It is all about our desires and if we are willing to be led in the places we need to be at. I am learning tons out here in Retiro. It is really hard. I think I am really finding out who I am and how we need to work with the Savior while I am fully in his service. I am so grateful for a loving Savior who has trusted me to represent him. I am so grateful to be in his service! It is the opportunity of a lifetime. I look forward to every moment I have to learn more about Him and how to serve Him more. I hope we can all turn to his care and depend on him. 

Thank you so much for your letters and all your support. I am so grateful for all of you and all that you do. I love you so very much. My prayers are with you. I miss you and love you all. Until next week!

Elder Ethan Haws

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Week 33

This week was a bunch of baby steps for us. It is hard to put down all the things that happened. It was just a puzzle of a million tiny pieces. Not very much passed this week. We didn't see many things progress, and honestly it was a hard week all in all. So this week I'm going to write down just some major points that happened.

So to start the week off, we had a strong commitment to get our 140 contacts. Elder Price and I were determined to get that goal so that we could start finding more people. We worked and worked and worked throughout the week. It was the hardest week I’ve ever had for contacts. I’ve never had so many people reject me in my entire life. It was really hard to stay animated. That was our biggest challenge of the week I think, to stay animated. We worked and focused so hard on contacts we kind of developed tunnel vision.

Contacts have just been redefined in our mission. They only count when you talk to someone in the street or when you talk to someone first. Really you have to bring the message to them. Because they only count in this way, we have been focusing ourselves in only this aspect of finding people. We have left the other ways of finding people out. So while trying to find more people we are limited to finding in only one way. It is a newly learned lesson for us. We always have to find new ways of finding people. There is always a way to work, we just have to trust in our Heavenly Father and be led by the spirit.

We saw some mini miracles in Retiro this week. Even though nearly 75% of our set visits fell, we still made progress with animating the branch. We had some really cool visits with some member families. This week we kind of focused on them and lifting their spirits.

We had an activity for mother's day on Saturday. At first, as we were there at the church waiting for people to come, it looked like it had been for nothing. Right when it was about to start, there wasn't one Sister there that had been invited. But soon after they all started showing up. We ended up with a ton of families at the activity. We had 3 less actives show up that I thought I’d never see them near the church! It was a miracle! We had a short little devotional and we then went into the back room and had a HUGE cake. We had hilarious conversation and enjoyed the evening.

I want to share some ideas that I learned from my studies.

Here are the lyrics to the hymn ''Where Can I Turn For Peace?''

1. Where can I turn for peace?
Where is my solace
When other sources cease to make me whole?
When with a wounded heart, anger, or malice,
I draw myself apart,
Searching my soul?

2. Where, when my aching grows,
Where, when I languish,
Where, in my need to know, where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand?
He, only One.
3. He answers privately,
Reaches my reaching
In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend.
Gentle the peace he finds for my beseeching.
Constant he is and kind,
Love without end.

I love the message of Peace that the gospel brings. It is truly our source of peace in this life. I love the line, ''He answers privately, reaches my reaching. In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend.'' I know that the Savior answers our prayers and knows us personally. He is the one who atoned for our sins and payed the debt. He is the author of our Salvation. If we trust in Him we will find that He will guide us.

But to really trust in the Savior, what do we need to do? It requires more than just a thought of reliance. In Doctrine and Covenants 59 the Savior says:

23 But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.

24 I, the Lord, have spoken it, and the Spirit beareth record. Amen.

Through doing works of righteousness I know that we can gain that reward, which is peace in this life and for all eternity. I know that the Savior can help us with our trials. He is our Savior.

Matthew 11:
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

It is my testimony that when we have worries, and when we have fears, we have no reason to fear. Our Savior has overcome the world. When things don't work out and when everything seems to fall, we can go on and continue doing the things that he has commanded us to do. We will find peace in these things. ''There is peace in righteous doing.''

Thank you so much for your support. I love hearing your messages every week. I love hearing what is going on in your life and how everyone is doing. I love you guys so much. It was so hard to say goodbye to you guys Skype. I can’t believe how hard that was. Christmas is toooooooo far away. I love you guys more than you could ever know. I miss you guys tons. I hope you all a have an amazing week! I’ll talk to you guys in one week!!

Elder Ethan Haws

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Week 32

Week 32!  Time is flying. 

Elder Price and I learned a lot this week. We are learning a lot about how to work this sector. We are taking  baby steps to turn this sector around.  We are trying to help with the needs of the members. We aren't progressing as I want with Investigators, but we are continuing to make progress with converts and less actives. 

We had rain this week which made the week really difficult. The Chileans like to hide inside their houses  when it rains. They just lock themselves up and there isn't anyone outside. That makes it really difficult for us missionaries. We have had figure out how we can work better with these setbacks. 

 There  hasn't been much change here. It is feeling pretty routine. I don't like it. I'm wanting to change the things that are done here. Lately there hasn't been any excitement whatsoever here in Retiro. All the members are disanimado (not enthusiastic) as well as us missionaries. We are feeling discouraged. I'm real tired of it. That is the biggest project that is going on right now, We are going to give it all we got and change attitudes around here. 

We had a usual P-day and set up for the week. 
We went and had a meeting at our branch mission leaders house, Luis Ivan's. There, we planned a few activities that we would like to start. We discussed some ways we can involve the members in the church more throughout the week. We discussed the plans for an upcoming activity at the church on Friday. We planned to help a few member families understand the importance of missionary work. There we would teach them and inspire them on using their testimonies and understanding the simple doctrines that we share. We planned other various things and had a good visit.

We had a regular day. We tried to find some futures but it  didn't pan out. We mostly did contacts. We ran into hermana Miriam and helped her out by carrying some oil she was bringing to her house. She also brought us along to visit her mom and her brother. Her brother is actually interested in learning about the church and we are going to start teaching him with Miriam's help. 

We had a really good zone class. Elder Rhodes and Froerer went over a few things that they received in their training in Concepción. For our practices for the class we went outside as a zone and saw how many contacts we could get in 10 minutes as a companionship. We came in 3rd place with 10 contacts. So close....

We had a rainy day and it really came down. We walked around and contacted as many people would stop. It was a wet day. 

It was a wet day again. We battled the rain all day and were out just trying to talk to people. We had a family home evening at Miriam´s and had sopaipillas. We had an incredible lesson and the spirit was so strong. We shared a powerful message about the Savior and we left high on the spirit. 
We decided later that night that we would try and contact a family of futures we met earlier in the week. We passed by their house and sure enough they let us in. They are great people. They just moved into Retiro about a month ago. We got to know them and made a great first impression. We really hit it off well. We were stoked. We werent able to share much of a message due to the restricted time but we shared enough doctrine that they became interested. 

We contacted a lot of people and prepared for the activity that night. It was a regular day. no one really let us in. 

Soon enough it was time for the activity. We showed up but unfortunately the families didn't. It was pouring buckets of rain. The streets were all rivers. We were disapointed and we continued to work out in the Rain.

We started a fast that afternoon. We prayed fervently for success.  We pleaded for something good to happen.  As soon as we went out to work we were able to visit a hermana who we haven't been able to visit for my entire 9 weeks here in Retiro. Her name is Tehualda. She's less active but willing to come back. So now we will start working with her. We visited the Saldaña family and had a good visit with a quick 'once' (snack). We went around visiting many members and felt a little better than we had this week. 

We had a nice church meeting. We didn't have many people show up. We didn't have any investigators either. We were disappointed. That afternoon we closed up with consejo de rama, or branch council meeting. We made some sweet plans to jump start the branch. We are very worried for the branch. It's in it's own little coma. We've got to wake it up. 

We had a fun day and partly celebrated this 5 de Mayo at our Lider express in Parral (Walmart), we bought taco supplies and we had our own little fiesta. Its been pretty great. 
All in all, it was pretty uneventful. Our challenge is just not to get disanimado and keep working. It is the test that we face. Its hard work. Its the hardest thing I've ever done.  I trust in my Savior and I know that he will help me. 

Id like to share a few scriptures that really impacted me this week. These are some teachings from our Savior at the last supper. 

Chapter 13
 33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.
 34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Chapter 14
 27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Chapter 16
 28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.
 32 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
 33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

When I read these things I can’t refrain from tearing up. I am so grateful for our Saviors sacrifice for us. He has overcome the world. If we follow him we can surely find peace and comfort in this life. 
I am grateful for the opportunity to be here in Chile at this time. I am so grateful for these tests. I know I am growing and I know that weak things can become strong if we allow God to help us. 
Thank you for all that you do. I love all of you so very much. I am so excited to talk with you this Sunday. 

Elder Ethan Haws

Week 31

It’s step by step here in Retiro. This was just a blur of a week.   Time flew fast and we found ourselves feeling like we didn't have enough time to do everything we wanted. It was really normal. Too normal for me. I'm getting really tired of the normal weeks here in Retiro. I want to see something of a change. I feel really hungry and thirsty for it. It was a hard week for finding people. Since the rules have changed that only street contacts count, I think we have been dropping the other ways of finding people off to the side a little too far. A lot of things just didn't turn out this week. But,  I'm excited for every new chance I have to start a new week to make improvements here in the sector.

We felt good. We felt energized for some reason. We started off good and ran around to some citas. Most fell but we were able to talk with a lot of good people. We ended the night having a family home evening at the Uribe's house. We shared the #BecauseOfHim video that just came out and talked about the savior. We finished and then made some brownies from the brownie mix I got a couple packages ago. It was a ton of fun enjoying the night with them.

We had a slow day on Tuesday. We mostly visited members whether active, converts, or less actives. We ended the night with another family home evening with Miriam and her daughter Estephanía. We shared the same video, and turns out Estephanía has a ton of questions about the plan of salvation. She never got a testimony of anything in the church. She was just a baptismal number. That's the case with 70 percent of the people here. So we talked for a while about things about the plan of salvation and stuff. We finished the night by eating completos and playing games.

We had a training in Parral given by one of the senior couples, the Scholes. Elder Scholes gave an incredible message and I enjoyed it very much. It taught me a lot about the work we need to do. It really affected me.
We had another slow day and sadly we had to drop our investigators Armandina and Daniela and Carmen and Carina because they aren't progressing and aren't really committed to go to church. It was a long day. We finished with yet another family home evening with Alejandro and Evelyn. We ate a ton of food and I had a spicy pepper. We all laughed as the tears streamed down my face! We shared a few scriptures and finished up.

We hit it hard with the contacts. We talked with a ton of people. That was our main focus for the day. We had to start finding new people. We ended up at Jorgé's house that night. Turns out that his wife was there along with the Sepulveda family. We were able to teach 4 MA's right there! It was a great lesson and we were grateful for the chance to be lead to an opportunity to help the branch.

We headed out that morning for a conference in Chillán. That trip was a hastle. We had to get up really early and study, and then leave for a bus at 7 in the morning. We got to Parral, and left as a zone. We got to Chillán an hour later and walked to the chapel. Turns out the speaker couldn't make it so we just had some more trainings and we had practices.
As we headed back we got news that the buses were full. My district and I had to run to another terminal and catch a bus that was going to Santiago. We would be dropped off near Parral. So we got back pretty late.
We had an ok day. We had originally planned to go to Copihue, but that fell through because we were late getting back. We decided to visit some people on our mind. We decided we needed to strengthen this branch that day. We had a good day of visiting people like German, Matias (Less Active), and María (convert).

We had a great day. FINALLY. We were finally able to find some new's. We started off the day meeting with a member from Parral named Pancho, and we went to a set appointment. The lady's name is Maria José. We talked to her on Thursday. We got to her house and we shared a great lesson. We committed her to baptism and she accepted immediately. We were so stoked. She couldn't go to church this week but she was more than willing to accept to go the next week. We felt so good. We went out with renewed energy. We were stoked. We went out and had 3 more lessons. We had a good day and we're excited for things to finally start happening.

We had a good day. I was assigned a talk this week and I gave it on the importance of ''Living what we Learn''. I feel more comfortable giving talks in church these days. I crave for those opportunities. It went well. We had 39 people in church. It is progress. I am so happy to see the Saldaña family going to church again!!!! It is truly a miracle in my eyes. We went out and visited them that night and had a light 'Once'. They are committed to coming back to church. It couldn't be better.

All in all, we feel satisfied with what happened this week. Everything that is good that happens here is a huge success. I feel so privileged to be serving here at this time to help re-animate this place. I love it here. I love the people. And I know I can and will see many miracles in these next 6 weeks. I am so excited for the opportunities we are seeing.

I have been studying the life of the Savior for the last while and I have really learned a lot. I am so grateful for a loving Savior and for all that he has given us. I know that if we follow him, we will find peace in our trials and comfort in our sufferings. I know He lives. He is real, and he is waiting for us to obey so that he can help us. I know we have a loving Heavenly Father in whom we can confide. To him we can open our hearts. I know that they will help us. They are ready to lead us on. I love them and hope that I can be an instrument in their hands. I am so grateful for the chance to be here in Chile.  The things that I am learning here are so special to me and so personal. I am grateful for hard times. I know that they are meant to help us grow.

I hope all is well at home. I think of all you do, and how things are going in Utah.  I love you all so much. I miss you so much. I cannot wait to talk to you in just 2 weeks!! I cant wait to tell you more details life here in the mission. I love you and miss you so much. Until next week!

Elder Ethan Haws