Monday, June 23, 2014

Week 39

Hey guys! It’s another Monday morning in the Internet cafe, and getting ready to start the coming week. Oh how time flies.

The week was good. We didn't see progress with investigators but we had a good time strengthening the members. It was a really big push to get almost every single member that lets us in committed to go to church. Ill break the week down with the people we worked with.


I had a mini cambio with our new district leader Elder Jackson this Tuesday. It was our first time working together. He is a really cool guy. He is from Riverton as well but went to Bingham High. (At least I think it’s in Riverton boundaries. He claimed it was). We had a good day, our goal was to inspire members and fortify their testimonies. We set off at the start of the day and contacted like mad men. We talked with everyone. Not too far from our house, we stopped to talk with a lady conversing with someone in front of her house. We got to know her and asked if we could pass by and share a quick message. She accepted. We got in and found out she and her family had been sharing with the missionaries quite a while ago, and one day they just stopped coming by. She was pretty interested to us passing by again and sharing the lessons. I was stoked. We set some commitments and set an appointment for the coming Saturday. We passed by that Saturday but she wasn't there.

Mostly our work with other people was doing contacts this week. We have met lots of potential investigators, it’s just a battle to sort out the false numbers and directions; the ones who are truly interested.

We had another activity this week. We set up a movie night in the little chapel. With permission from our leaders we showed the movie 'Turbo'. Yeah, the one about the super- fast snail. It was awesome, the people really enjoyed it. We were able to apply it to the situation here in Retiro. We are such a small branch and no one really pays any attention to the members here and no one really believes that good things can happen here, but it’s not true. We have to follow our dreams and push ourselves to become great. Miracles are possible and dreams are achievable. The activities that we have been doing have been turning out nicely. This Sunday our branch president was going around and extending invitations to the upcoming activity this Thursday himself!! Good things like that are starting to happen. It is an incredible blessing to see little things like that happen here in Retiro. I am grateful for the blessings that Heavenly Father gives us.

MA's (less actives).

We focused on working with Veranía and her son Esteban, The Saldaña's, The Campos family, Miriam, The Sepulveda's, and German. We visited them all through the week and shared great messages. Something that really helped us was breaking out our video player and sharing Mormon messages to catch their attention. We had powerful lessons and were able to extend some strong commitments to all of them. We worked hard with all of them, but our biggest focus right now are the youth. We know that they can help us a ton in the branch with their excitement and energy. We worked especially hard with German and Esteban.

We were able to bring German to the activity and to church! The first time he has gone to anything at the church for about 4 weeks! That was a victory.

The Campos family came to church this week!!! I had lost hope with them, I have extended the commitment to church almost every single week while being here. They had never come until this week!! It was amazing!


We mostly visited with our branch mission leader and served our branch president. We spent time with them during the week and strengthened our relationship. It was good. The Uribe's contracted a nasty flu this week and president asked if we could go over and give them blessings with him. We accepted. We got there and they looked like zombies! We administered the blessings with a powerful spirit in their house. It was awesome to jokingly share the warning that I didn't want to kill them (reference to the time I gave a blessing to an old lady in the hospital and she died the next day) but I was willing to do it anyway.

With the branch mission leader we visited his family and left to visit people with him this week. We are starting to gain confidence with the branch.

On Sunday I gave a talk on revelation, the importance of it in the church and how it applies to us. It went well. I had lots of members comment on it. It’s nice to be in the middle of giving the talk and have the understanding of the members so that when I make my little mistakes in grammar we just laugh it off together. I like this verse in Doctrine and Covenants 42:61

If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.

I am so grateful for the knowledge that God speaks. Not that He spake but that he speaks. It is so comforting to know that we can receive his guidance in our lives, personally. It is a blessing to have an eternal Father who guides us and to have his attention and his care. My testimony of a loving Father and Son are growing ever deeper. I love the gospel and I love sharing it. Nothing brings greater joy.

Thank you for all you do. I love you guys so much. I love hearing about how life is going. It is so good knowing that I have your support. I love you all and miss you tons. Until next week!

Elder Ethan Haws

Week 38

Another week? Wait a sec, I thought I was just in the cyber a few seconds ago.

Seriously though, the time is flying like never before. The time becomes progressively faster as the days fade on. Everyone always has said that that's the way it is here in the mission, but now I really do know it’s true. So with that said, I've been trying to enjoy every second I have here in Retiro. I know I'm not going to be here forever so it’s a matter of caring for every second. Retiro has crashed and burned during the last year and I am determined to bring it back into the light. So, just got to put my shoulder to the wheel and push along.

The week was somewhat average. It was just a frenzy of visiting and strengthening the members here. We really pushed hard to visit all the menos activos here. This week, I'm just going to give you the highlights of the week and the details that matter. 

Highlight 1

This week we started out by organizing a family home evening for the branch in the chapel. We made invitations and everything and went around to every single member and invited everyone. Eventually, Thursday night came and 17 people ended up coming. We had 6 less actives there. Elder Martinez and I started off by doing a special number playing 'He Sent His Son' (my favorite church song) on the guitar and singing along in Spanish and English. We then led that into an activity on “Choose this day”. We highlighted making decisions and stressed the importance that today is the day of our salvation. It was really fun. We ended the lesson and enjoyed eating cookies and other refreshments and played games for about an hour. The members loved it and we are excited to continue having activities to bring excitement and energy back into the chapel. REANIMATED CHAPEL! SUCCESS!

Highlight 2

Hermana Miriam has been going through some hard times! She went from being strong in the church to wanting to change churches completely. We went to visit her one night and she recounted what had happened with President Uribe the last sacrament meeting. Supposedly he had promised to help her get plants or flowers or something and a few days later he denied the whole thing. That upset her a ton and she declared that she would never go to church again until President had confessed that he was a liar and fessed up to his wrongs. We counseled with her appointment after appointment, she would not change her mind nor forgive. It is amazing to me how sensitive people are!!  We dragged Miriam and her daughter Estefania to the family home evening at the chapel and they really enjoyed it. We finally talked to President about the situation and he set an appointment to go resolve the problem. We had our hopes up that because of the family home evening and the appointment with President, she would get to church this Sunday. So,  we got to church and we waited for the people come and at the very last minute Miriam amazingly showed up! She enjoyed the meetings and we had lunch there after church!  PROBLEMS SOLVED!! CASE CLOSED!! We also had Michelle and Palmenia Saldaña at church. We are excited to see the Saldaña family progressing. 

Highlight 3

Last night we were walking around doing contacts on the dark foggy streets and as we turned a corner we saw a group of huge dogs attacking a poor little dog. We stopped for a sec and I guess you could say we felt compassion and so we entered in, throwing rocks and shouting driving the big dogs back. Eventually after having them circle around trying to get back in, we got to the small dog and carried it back to our sector. We dropped it off at Jorge's house and are letting it rest up. We don't know what to do with it, but we'll see how it goes. DOG RESCUE! YES!

It’s been pretty sad to see all our investigators dropping us like always. We have tried to go back to visit a few but they never let us in. However, we have been finding a lot of futures as of late. We are going to be finding and visiting a ton of people in the coming week. We are going to be progressing a ton with the menos activos. 

The world cup has started and I'm sure you all have been hearing about it. In the states It’s a pretty causal thing. Here, IT MEANS THE WHOLE WORLD! It’s like the super bowl x 3! We had to be in our house a 6 o'clock on Wednesday because of the Chile - Australia game. The entire city of Retiro lit up with yelling when they scored the goals! It’s a crazy time here in Chile. Soccer is HUGE!!

The week was pretty average but we had fun. Elder Martinez and I are having a good time. I am doing really good. I'm enjoying my mission right now very much. I am grateful for the blessings that are flowing out. I love the Lord and desire to be a better servant every second that I have.

Thank you so much for your support. I love you all so much. I think about you and pray for you. I love you and miss you!! Until next week!

Elder Haws

Monday, June 9, 2014

Week 37

Map of Sector Retiro

Wow, wow, wow, wow!

This week has been the biggest turning point in my entire mission! I cannot believe the outpouring of blessings that we have been able to receive.

To start the week I was a bit worried about getting a Latino companion. I still haven't mastered the language, but I can get along pretty well. I had a lot of doubts that I would be able to lead the sector well enough. Through all the hard times I have been completely lost on what to do here and how to get the needed spark.

On Monday, we received news that Elder Price would be leaving to Chiguayante the next morning and Elder Martinez would be coming to replace him. We basically went throughout the day packing up and preparing for the cambio. The whole afternoon was spent visiting a few families and saying our goodbyes. We finished out by having a family home evening with the Uribe's.

On Tuesday, we rolled out of bed and headed out the door. All morning long it was pouring rain. We had to drag the suitcases through mud and puddles all the way to the bus stops and wait for the bus to get there. It was exhausting! We loaded everything on and soon enough we were in Parral at the terminal. We said our goodbyes and Elder Price, Hancock, and others boarded the bus and took off to Concepción. Elder Froerer, Kemner and I stood there in the freezing bus terminal for 3 hours waiting for our companions. We told stories about the mission and Elder Froerer and I had a good time recounting our time in Nonguen. We had good times. After a while our companions showed up. Elder Martinez was first to get off and we quickly took our stuff to the senior companions (The Mora's) car. We drove to Retiro and unpacked. We went to Rosa Gonzales' sister for lunch. She owns a really nice restaurant so we ate really good. It was just your average meat chunks, potatoes, and soup. We finished up and headed home. After prepping for the day we were out and at work. We went around and visited Juan and Nancy, Gladys, the Campos family, the Saldaña's, and the Abarzua's. Elder Martinez got along so great with everyone. It was soooooooo good to see the members so excited for someone new. Maybe we are going to see some excitement and some fire in the branch.

Elder Martinez is so cool. He’s from Mexico City, the DF (Distrito Federal). He was born in the church and has a super strong testimony. He is a mixed martial arts cage fighter and is a UFC champion in Mexico. Because of that he’s a pretty big dude, but about my height. For work he owns a shop and builds and engineers his own motorcycles with his family. Just like those TV shows like ''American Choppers'' he builds some pretty cool bikes and then sells them. It’s pretty cool. We hit it off really well and are already good friends.

In the mornings he's been pushing me through his exercise routine. IMAGINE THAT. I'm being trained by a champion cage fighter. These exercises are brutal! I'm going to lose all that extra weight from all the bread and potatoes real quick!

Through the whole week it rained non- stop. It was insane to see water falling from the sky at such a speed and at such an amount. I didn't think it was possible to rain this much. Looks like the whole next week will be full of rain as well.

The whole week we saw miracle after miracle. We were able to touch the hearts of less actives that never had let us into their houses. We finally got into the Sepulveda's house. They suddenly accepted us with open arms and are ready to start going back to church. Same with the Saldaña's. We visited with nearly all the less actives and members namely, Eliana, Veranía, The Campos', Gladys, German, Miriam, Sepulveda's, and the Sotomayor family. We saw miracle after miracle. To my amazement, we were able to find out the needs of every single person we met with. They just opened up to us. We found out why they hadn't been going to church. It is mainly because they had been offended by some people and they just don't have a testimony. We were able to be on the Lords errand this week. It was really cool to see the relation of appointments falling and then in response we visited people that were in greater need. We committed 8 families to get to church. We put down strong commitments. We were also able to find 5 new investigators in the midst of working with so many members. We are excited to see so many other opportunities for investigators here in Retiro. Elder Martinez and I are excited to get this branch going. We are here to change this branch forever. It’s finally time to find excitement here and see what  we can do as servants of the Lord. We have worked together really well. It’s going to be a great cambio and a time of my life I will never forget.

I have learned so much about myself, life, and my position as a servant of the Lord. I am figuring out how to play this game. I have a deepening testimony that we are nothing without following the spirit. As members of the church we all desperately need that constant communication with our Heavenly Father to seek his will. And even more importantly we need to act on the guidance we are given. It is the way to save Heavenly Father's children.

I’m so excited to continue this week and see what we can accomplish with divine guidance and help. I am so excited for the time to progress!!

I’m so grateful for all of you and for all your love thank you so much for all that you do for me and your love and concern for me through all the weeks. I love you all so much. I am nothing without you. I love you and miss you so much. Until next week!

Elder Ethan Haws

Week 36

This week was pretty interesting. It was the last week of the cambio (transfer). We took it like any other week. I feel like all the time I’ve been here in Retiro, the Lord has been playing a game of 'Uncle' with me. That one where one person twists another's arm till they can’t take it and give up saying ''Uncle!'' That is what it has come to this week. The Lord is giving me all I can take. It is the refiner’s fire.

I don't have my agenda with me because we got haircuts before coming here and I forgot to grab it. It’s going to be a shorter letter but I’ll fill you in on the big stuff that happened this week.

Basically what we have been struggling with here is the relationship between the members and their personal testimonies. We had tons of appointments with members this week and all they could talk about was how they didn't get along with people in the branch, or how they don't like how some things are done or how things should be better. It built up all week long.

We had the help of Pancho from Parral again for Monday and Tuesday. We went and visited our only investigators Bernarda Fuentes and her family on Monday. We had a good lesson and we found some pretty good common ground, but in the end when we recommitted her to baptism she told us straight up that she doesn't want to change or accept anything like that. She hasn't done anything with the commitments so we have had to back off once again. We went to go visit other members and less actives. We were able to visit hermana Gladys and her family. Turns out her husband isn't a member and was really friendly to us. We were excited realizing that they are an incomplete family. We want to put more focus on those families this coming week. We talked with many possible future investigators and had lots of people to contact, but incredibly nothing really gave this week, the only successes we saw this week were with members.

Like I said the groaning and complaining piled up through the week, we got to Saturday night and were invited to a family home evening with Miriam and Estefania. They also invited the Campos family as well. Sadly, we were a little late getting there because we were in another visit. When we got there Estefania was ready to kill us because we were late. She accused us of not remembering and gave us a nasty glare while we explained. We sat down and began to converse. Again, the discussion about the branch came up. They expressed their doubts and troubles, and I had had enough. I stopped everyone and started sharing a message. We talked about the savior and what he taught. We showed videos of his life and talked about forgiveness and the atonement. In the end I was crying and almost everyone else was too. It was powerful just following the prompting of the spirit, and watching the power coming out of my words from the spirit. I was saying things without thinking. It was amazing. We felt good and closed with our testimonies. Then we had a huge buffet of sopaipillas, hot dogs, and all kinds of chips. It was a good night and I felt better from the week that we had. It was nice to just bajar la caña (lower the cane!) and get a few words in and bear fervent testimony of the Savior.

That lesson and all the experiences throughout the week really got my attention. I thought a lot this week....

Family, Friends... Are we converted? Are our testimonies burning? If something happens like a trial or something goes wrong, will we fall? Are we prepared to stand to the end and defend our faith for the right reasons? Do we live what we believe? Do we really believe in the doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ?

I would like to share some things from the topic of ''conversion'' from the church website. It says:

''Conversion includes a change in behavior, but it goes beyond behavior; it is a change in our very nature. It is such a significant change that the Lord and His prophets refer to it as a rebirth, a change of heart, and a baptism of fire. The Lord said:

“Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters;

“And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God” (Mosiah 27:25–26).

Conversion is a process, not an event. Conversion comes as a result of righteous efforts to follow the Savior. These efforts include exercising faith in Jesus Christ, repenting of sin, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end in faith.

Although conversion is miraculous and life changing, it is a quiet miracle. Angelic visitations and other spectacular occurrences do not bring conversion. Even Alma, who saw an angel, became converted only after he “fasted and prayed many days” for a witness of the truth (Alma 5:46).

King Benjamin's people declared, “The Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” (Mosiah 5:2).''

I have a testimony of the importance of conversion, Prophets and Apostles. I know that it is the way, and a source of happiness in this life. Opposition will SURELY come. We will need to be prepared to stand up. I love the counsel from Elder Neil L. Anderson,

''Build more firmly your foundation upon the rock of your Redeemer. Treasure more completely His incomparable life and teachings. Follow more diligently His example and His commandments. Embrace more deeply His love, His mercy and grace, and the powerful gifts of His Atonement. As you do, I promise you that you will see the whirlwinds for what they are—tests, temptations, distractions, or challenges to help you grow. And as you live righteously year after year, I assure you that your experiences will confirm to you again and again that Jesus is the Christ. The spiritual rock under your feet will be solid and secure. You will rejoice that God has placed you here to be a part of the final preparations for Christ’s glorious return.''

I am grateful for my testimony. I am grateful for all that I have in this life. I am so thankful for all of you. Thank you for all that you do. I love you so much and am so grateful for your concern and support.

This morning we received news about transfers. Elder Price is leaving to the zone Chiguayante. He will be senior companion. As for me, Elder Martinez from Mexico is coming here. I am going to be Senior companion. It’s going to be great getting to know him and having the chance to lead the sector. It’s crazy to say but I will not speak English for a very long time now! Exciting things!

Love you all so much. I miss you! I hope you guys have a great week! Until the next!

Elder Haws