Sunday, August 31, 2014

Week 48

Transfers! Here we are, the end of another 6 weeks! Another adventure begins!!

We received the call this morning about what would happen for the next 6 weeks. Not to my surprise, I will be leaving Retiro to head to Villa Coiquen in Chillán. It is a great change. I am so excited to get out of the same motions and start over again. It will be great to go out and meet more people, and save more of Gods children. I will miss the people of Retiro and all that has happened here a lot. I have changed so much here. Through trials and hard times you really do grow stronger. That was the whole purpose of me being in Retiro, I think. I think it was only to put me to my limits and to see what I could still do. It brought out every single one of my weakest points and highlighted them in front of everyone. Now that it’s all past, I think it’s time for my mission to really take off. I'm so excited for this start.


This week was interesting. I’d say it was fun. Our leaders strongly committed us to reach our standard of excellence to find 10 new investigators. Elder Martinez and I went out like it was war or something. We were really determined to find those people. We definitely pushed it hard this week.

From our efforts we ended up finding 5 people.

-Juan and Marisol, a catholic couple who let us in while we were looking for other people.
-Marcela and Carlos, her son.
-Alejandra, the replacement for Lorena at OMIL from the Municipalidad.

We didn't fill our goal but these investigators are really good. We feel great that we could find them and have great lessons with them.
The week was full of using all our efforts to find these 5. Elder Martinez and his new comp will have to continue to take care of all our efforts.

We did a ton of work with the members this week. We visited them a ton and shared many messages.

There is not much to report for this week. It was really spent on finding these investigators. It was a very busy week. I felt like it was one of the craziest I had during my time in Retiro.

We committed all those investigators to church but no one showed up. That was disappointing for us. The attendance in church was low as well. I think that was the only downside to the week.

Other Strange Things:

Its warming up! Last Friday and Saturday it started feeling like spring weather. And today we have clear skies and it is warming up fast. I am looking forward to breaking out of the wet cold winter here.

To those who are curious, we did feel a little bit of the earthquake in Santiago. We were in a short lesson with Juan and Nancy, and all of a sudden Juan shouted, ''It’s shaking!''  The whole house swerved for a few seconds but it wasn't anything too big. It freaked the Chileans out because they are paranoid about things like that, but I thought it was way cool! It shut off all the power to 80 percent of Retiro.

On Saturday night we had a FHE with the Uribe's. For our dessert I helped them cook up a classic that I enjoy in Utah. We made a chocolate shake and had french fries. They all kind of freaked out and only President gave it a try. He liked it! All the Chileans think I'm weird for liking something like that.

Well, it’s another chapter for me and my mission. I am so excited to start again in Chillan. It will be a great adventure. I can’t wait to tell you how it all goes next Monday.

I love you all. Thank you for all that you do. I miss you all so much. It is so good to hear from you every week. I love technology, that we are able to communicate each week.  It is a huge blessing for all of us. Until next week. Have the best week ever!

Elder Ethan Haws

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Week 47

Branch conference activity in Retiro

Alright! Time for another week report!

This week was an interesting one because we had our branch conference! It was the 2nd anniversary of the chapel here in Retiro! (The branch is so young) The activities kind of absorbed the whole week, and that gave us little time to do everything necessary. These are the activities we had:

1. Family Home Evening (In peoples own houses.)
2. Sports activity
3. Doing visits
4. Talent Show
5. Family Home Evening (in the chapel with everyone)
6. Devotional
7. The Conference

I’ll describe what happened for each

1. We had planned to go out and have a FHE with the Campos family, and with Miriam and Estefania combined. We prepared a short lesson and some things to share earlier in the day but surely enough Hermano Campos gave us a call just before the FHE to cancel it. So we went around and got our contacts visited Miriam and Estephania, as well as German.

2. Our sports activity was a ton of fun. We shuttled everyone down to the gymnasium and had the activity there. We had relay races, played soccer, other various games, and had a giant asado with choripanes! (a barbeque having sausage sandwich things). We had a ton of people show up. There was at least 35 people there. Some people who haven't come to Church activities for ages showed up as well. It was a good time getting to spend time together.

Sports activity

3. The visits went well. I went on a split with our elders quorum president, Juan Lastra. We went out to visit the Saldañas and the Sepulvedas but no one was home. We tried all of our backups but no one was home. We went back and met up with everyone else and headed back home. It was a pretty laid back night. We had a good time.

4. Our talent show was some good fun. We headed to the gymnasium for this one as well. The talents from each of the organizations of the branch were pretty, well, just telling jokes and acting out some cheesy skits. They were pretty funny though. The best one, in my opinion was when the young men, Pancho, Felipe, German, Luis, and Michol went up on stage as One Direction, and the young women started attacking them and just played out a funny concert scenario. It was pretty funny. Elder Martinez and I went for the musical numbers. (hehe... That's my kind of thing). For our first number we played my arrangement of Nearer, my God to thee on my charango and Elder Martinez played his guitar. For the second number I played Brightly Beams our Fathers Mercy on the guitar. It went really well. I REALLY REALLY REALLY miss that sensation of playing music in front of people. It’s always a good time. We finished had refreshments, the youth started a game of futbol, and then we went home.

5. Our FHE in the chapel was really good. It was really spiritual. We watched one of the bible videos from the church, the one about Christ suffering in Gethsemane. We talked about that for a good while and then we played games and ate refreshments.

6. Saturday morning we went out and had a service project and went out and cleaned the main street by picking up garbage. When we finished, we cleaned up the chapel and prepared it for the devotional we had later in the evening.  We had a good devotional. Simple messages were shared and it was a good evening with lots of people in the chapel.

Service project

7. The conference was great. I’d say it was a success! It was just a bummer to come so close to the goal of attendance and barely miss it. We had 61 People in church. All the less actives that always come didn't come, and all those who usually come didn't come. The Saldañas and the Campos both came. We had various other people come that have previously sworn never to return to the church. It was good to see so many miracles throughout the week. It was a big push but I’d say in the end it was worth it.

All the activities were a blast. Elder Martinez and I are just exhausted from so much that happened. We are so drained from all the prep that we did for the conference.

The best part of the week was just seeing people who haven't gone to church or haven't shown up to activities, actually arrive. It was cool to see that by reaching out and by using the support of the members can make a big change in a dying branch. There is a boost in the chapel now. It clearly feels different. I am content with what has happened with all my time here. The week made everything different. I really have developed a relationship with a lot of people here. They are my brothers and sisters. I love them and it is such a pleasure to serve them.

This week will be good. I will be focusing on saying my precautionary goodbyes to everyone. We will have an activity this Thursday to say my goodbyes with everyone! Just as a precaution due to the clues and things we have heard. It will be tough to leave, but I will be so grateful for an opportunity to get out and work hard in a different area. It will be good to break out of a routine here.

The week went by really fast. It’s cool to see time speeding up, but it’s scary as well. I have been working on really enjoying my time here.

All in all, I can do nothing without the help of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. It is so interesting to be in a position where I have no idea what to do, and be completely dependent on them. They truly can guide us and help us if we let Them. It is so real, and I love sharing the sacred truth that they are real, and that they love us. I am so grateful to have all that I have, to know the sweetness of the plan of salvation, and to have the hope that the Gospel brings in my life. I am grateful to share it. I hope that we can all cherish what we really have and follow the counsels of the Savior and his servants the prophets in all that we do.

Thank you so much for all you guys do. I feel your support, and it helps me to keep going every day. I miss you terribly, and I wish we could share our experiences more thoroughly. You are everything to me guys. I love you all so much more that I can express. I hope you have a good week, and enjoy all that happens, the good and the bad! Until the next week!

Elder Ethan Haws

Week 46

Rainbow over Retiro

Hey guys! It is a pleasure to be greeting you again. It’s another start of the week and I’m ready to go give it another shot here in Retiro. We are nearing the end of the transfer here. We only have till the 26th of August. That means two more weeks. I am pretty sure that I will be leaving Retiro by then. I’ve nearly been here for 6 months. Most people just start to try and apologize when they hear that I’ve been here that long.

This week was better. A lot of good happened. I had some good experiences and I really feel like we can continue on here. We are going to have our branch conference this next Sunday. All of the presidency of the mission will be in our conference and we have big goals. There is a lot of pressure to do a lot of good things and we are excited to see what happens with all the activities that we have planned. As for the activities to celebrate the week of our conference, we will have one every single day. It will be some good fun, so be expecting some pictures next week.

The Highlights.

This week we had a mini cambio on Tuesday. I went to Parral to be with Elder Kemner, and Elder Jackson went to spend the day in Retiro with Elder Martinez. Elder Kemner and I had an awesome day. The only downside is that I didn’t bring my rain gear or my boots. It was a downpour all day long. I had to borrow some old rain gear that I found in their house and used that for the day. It was COLD and WET. Despite that, it was great getting to meet the people of Parral. They have great investigators. I like Parral a lot, because they don’t make fun of you every time you try and speak Spanish. They are a lot more loving. The day ended fast and we changed back into companionships. During the mini-cambio, Elder Jackson and Martinez had a good day by teaching members and finding new investigators.

This Thursday we had our zone conference. It was great hearing great messages from our mission president, and the assistants. They were really inspiring. Elder Martinez and I felt much more committed to the work in Retiro. We enjoyed the workshops and even had an activity of scripture story charades. (That stuff gets intense with missionaries). After all that we had a good lunch of Sloppy Joe's. Oh how I miss good food like that.

The whole week we focused on the members. We focused on the regular people and boosted their spirits. Really the focus of the work for us is to help people have a basic understanding of the gospel. Seems simple and obvious, but we have a huge need for that here in Retiro.

I got a call from President Uribe Saturday night that I needed to give a talk in church. We finished our citas real quick and I got to work. I would like to share some insights that I found.
In Alma 58 we find a great story. This is the first part of the chapter.

 1 And behold, now it came to pass that our next object was to obtain the city of Manti; but behold, there was no way that we could lead them out of the city by our small bands. For behold, they remembered that which we had hitherto done; therefore we could not decoy them away from their strongholds.

 2 And they were so much more numerous than was our army that we durst not go forth and attack them in their strongholds.

4 And it came to pass that I thus did send an embassy to the governor of our land, to acquaint him concerning the affairs of our people. And it came to pass that we did wait to receive provisions and strength from the land of Zarahemla.

 8 But it came to pass that we did receive food, which was guarded to us by an army of two thousand men to our assistance; and this is all the assistance which we did receive, to defend ourselves and our country from falling into the hands of our enemies, yea, to contend with an enemy which was innumerable.

 9 And now the cause of these our embarrassments, or the cause why they did not send more strength unto us, we knew not; therefore we were grieved and also filled with fear, lest by any means the judgments of God should come upon our land, to our overthrow and utter destruction.

 10 Therefore we did pour out our souls in prayer to God, that he would strengthen us and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, yea, and also give us strength that we might retain our cities, and our lands, and our possessions, for the support of our people.

11 Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him.

 12 And we did take courage with our small force which we had received, and were fixed with a determination to conquer our enemies, and to maintain our lands, and our possessions, and our wives, and our children, and the cause of our liberty.

 13 And thus we did go forth with all our might against the Lamanites, who were in the city of Manti; and we did pitch our tents by the wilderness side, which was near to the city.

I love the power of prayer. It strengthens me and is the source of energy for me in my life. I love the examples that the scriptures give us. I know that by heartfelt and meaningful prayers, miracles are possible. I like how it say that they poured out their souls to God. I know that if we do the same, we can have similar experiences. I know that if we treat our conversations with our Heavenly Father as something more than a chore, He will listen and he will bless! It is my testimony that these things are true.

It’s a short letter, but this week was filled with the basics. Thanks for all you guys do. I love you so much. It is so great to hear that you had a great week. I wish I could be with you to see and be a part of these experiences! I love you all and miss you all so much. I hope that this week is even better. Until the next!

Elder Ethan Haws

Zone activity at the beach

Zone activity at the beach

Elders Haws and Martinez

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Week 45

My first draft of this letter just got deleted so, this one is going to be a lot shorter.

Here we are creeping up on the 45th week on the mission! Time is flying by!

This week was an interesting one. We saw a lot of big changes in the branch this week and we are excited to see what will happen because of that.

The Highlights

We had a good start by visiting a young couple who got baptized a year ago. Their names are Hector and Darinka. They haven't been to church in a while because their jobs are pretty demanding. Their hours just got shifted back a bit so now we have the opportunity to visit them. They could be a great help to us in the branch.

We had great activities this week. We had a cultural night by us on Thursday and shared a few things about Mexico and The States. I played the national anthem on the guitar and sang. Elder Martinez sang his, and everyone else sang the Chilean anthem.  Elder Martinez made some Burritos and I made a chocolate shake. I was going to cook up some french fries to go with the whole Wendy's Frosty and Fries idea, but we ran out of time. Everyone enjoyed the activity regardless. We played games to close it out.

City conference in Retiro

We had a cool service activity on Friday with our friends from OMIL, Juan Santiago, and Lorena. They invited us to help them out early in the week and we accepted. We helped them set up the (City) conference that they had, prepare food, and attend to various people.  We had good opportunities there as well. As we talked with people at the city conference we were able to explain that we are not monsters or aliens, and that we are just missionaries giving out service! We talked with one lady who just gave out all of her information and told us to pass by without even asking. It was a great blessing to be able to serve.

We had a competition between the Elders Quorum and the Young Men’s by playing soccer on Saturday morning. The adults played against the youth and we enjoyed a good 3 hours of running our guts out. We enjoyed a nice ''Asado'' afterwards and carried out a normal day.

Soccer activity in Retiro

On Sunday, Presidente Abarzua was released as the first counselor. Jorge Alarcón took his place as first counselor, and Elder Martinez was called as 2nd counselor. These changes are big and are going to affect a lot here in Retiro.

We waited for Church to start and people kept piling in. We had our record high, with 41 people in church. It was great to feel the spirit and hear great testimonies. It is uplifting to see that there is hope still. We are continuing to push through all the tests that are presented.

We had a great zone activity this morning. It was another activity in Cauquenes. We had an incredible breakfast with the Elder and Sister Scholes and went out and played soccer and ultimate Frisbee at the chapel there. We had some good fun.

We have some really fun things planned in the branch in the coming 2 weeks. It will be an enjoyable time as I approach the close of my transfer, and possibly the last few weeks I have in Retiro.

I can’t tell or explain how deeply I love the gospel. It changes lives. I have seen it. It can turn the worst person into the best. It is a blessing to have it in our lives. I am grateful to be a part of it all and to be able to share it every day. It is so important to me, and it ever will be from now until forever. I hope that we do enjoy the blessings that we have. We all need to really appreciate the things that we have and live the gospel. It will bring us peace. It will bring the happiness that we all want.

It’s been a short letter, but I am short on time. Thank you all for all that you do. I love you all so much, and I love hearing from you all! I love you, and miss you!! Enjoy the week! Until the next.

Elder Haws

This picture was taken by Elder Kemner in Parral.  These are the gorgeous dogs we deal with in Chile.  Look how cute it is...  Zoom in on its face for a greater effect.  It gets funnier the closer you zoom in!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Week 44

Indoor soccer with the youth of Retiro 
Elder Haws; cabeza de toro

This week was a week of stepping back and trying to sort things all out.  What Elder Martinez and I have to do right now is step back, realize what is possible for us in this moment, set good and stretching goals and go out and give it everything we have to have a successful and efficient week.

While we tried to sort everything out during the week, our main focus was with all the members. We have focused on the base of Retiro so much this week. Our main plan was to go around and get to the bottom of all the needs of  the members. As missionaries we have to teach to their needs or the lessons aren't going to be effective and the spirit won’t reach them as deeply. We focused on basic principles like the restoration, the atonement, faith, and the things that are vital. No one seemed to know what they were except for a few people. So our work is to go out and teach like crazy. We have to help people have a knowledge of the basics so that the spirit will help them become converted. That is what we are really focusing on in Retiro at the moment.

As for our work with investigators, it really dive bombed this week. Because everyone was on their last week of winter vacations it was hard to schedule appointments with everyone. We were still able to visit Danko, Maritza, and the Municipalidad all once this week, but none of them showed up to church. They are making slow progress. It’s time for us to speed up the process and work hard with them. That's what is going to happen this week.

Retiro Branch dessert night activity (noche de postres)

We were stoked to have our lunch schedule this week. This week hermana Gladys and Eliana were scheduled to give us lunch this week. We were stoked to see a convert and less active who have never cooked lunch for us be in our schedule. It gave us great opportunities. The lunches they cooked were really good. Eliana gave us both a heaping plate of pasta, with salad. Gladys gave us a heaping plate of rice and chicken. When we finished that we were stuffed and grateful for a good lunch. (something different than casuela, or lentajas.) When all of a sudden she brought out HUGE bowls of porotos (a thick soup with beans and noodles) for the both of us. Oh wow, our stomach's were at the point of exploding. Things like that happen all the time in the mission. It isn't too much fun, but it’s an experience to tell.


It started to rain this week on Saturday. We are looking to having a few more days of moisture. Friday was pretty strange. It was actually hot outside.

We visited German this week. He got back from vacations on Saturday, and we had a brief lesson with him. He doesn't have much of a desire to go to church anymore because he doesn't feel the excitement or the motivation like he used to. We let him make the decision to go or not to go. Sure enough, one minute away from the start of sacrament meeting he stepped in the door. We were so stoked! besides him, Eliana, Verania, and the Sepulvedas all showed up. Those are big successes for us here in Retiro.

Elder Martinez got really sick on Thursday, and I caught the tail end of his. I'm not sick like he was, I just have a minor cough and a cold. Elder Martinez woke up Thursday morning  with his sick deep voice he said. ''Elder I don't feel good''. He could barely talk for the whole day and was low on energy. We are pulling through the colds that we have and are getting better, especially today.

This week we put a focus on the atonement in our lessons. It is, for me, one of the most powerful and spiritual doctrines that exists. I love this Scripture in Alma 5:

 21: I say unto you, ye will know at that day that ye cannot be saved; for there can no man be saved except his garments are washed white; yea, his garments must be purified until they are cleansed from all stain, through the blood of him of whom it has been spoken by our fathers, who should come to redeem his people from their sins.

This life isn't supposed to be easy. But we do know that every sin is conquerable and is erasable because of the atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for his sacrifice and his love for us. He is a perfect example for our lives. We need to follow him in all that we do. If we do so, we will see the blessings of heaven poured out on us. I testify that he lives and that the Atonement is real, and can cleanse every wrong that exists in this world.

Thank you so much for your support as always. It is always so good to come to the cyber and read about the things that are happening in your lives. Thank you for all you do. I love you guys so much more than I can describe. I hope you all have an incredible week and enjoy the good in life. I love you and miss you. Until next week,

Elder Ethan Haws

A few activities ago Elder Haws built a temple made out of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches

Parral Zone during their "Christmas in July" activity