Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Week 56

Another week is over!

I hope this week was a good one for everyone! It is good to hear from all of you and it is so nice to feel such inspiration week after week. I love hearing about how life is. The most microscopic details that don’t seem necessary are so important to me. It was good reading all of your thoughts and messages.

The week was a grind for Elder Bird and I. We are running into obstacle after obstacle. We are scrambling for answers and solutions to find how we can be a more unified companionship. We are seeing our progression slowing down and we believe it is due to some of the different opinions that we have. But all is well. We are working hard and we are determined to find the solution to all of it.

We had a more interesting week because our mission president is changing some other key indicators that we are focusing on in the mission. We are now pushing to get 10 contacts every day, have one lesson to an investigator accompanied by a member, and one lesson to a less active or a recent convert. Getting the support from the members has been getting a little more complicated. We don’t know why, but fewer members have been available or willing to go with us. It seems like a lot of our options were getting cut off this week.

We did a lot of preparing for the next week. Most of the visits we had set up got moved to the next week. Things in people’s schedules got really busy and they told us to pass by the next week. This next week should be good for that reason.

On Thursday we had an awesome opportunity to head to Concepcion for a zone conference. The best part was that we were meeting up with my first zone in the mission, Andalien. I got to go real close to my first sector, Nonguen. We got to Conce in the Collao terminal, a place that I have been a lot. It was pretty cool to go and walk the streets I did when I was just starting my mission. It was a blast from the past!

The conference was awesome. I learned so much. It was focused on how we can work with the members better and get more accomplished in the work of salvation. We also got permission to watch a segment of Deiter F. Uchtdorf’s talk from the conference to mission presidents this last summer! IT WAS INCREDIBLE.  He discussed how Peter (Christ’s apostle) overcame his fear at times and became a powerful missionary and a disciple of Christ. He applied that to us and talked about God's love. I also want to share a quote that Hermana Arrington (Presidents Wife) shared with us. It’s from this last women’s conference.

“Whether you are 8 or 108, there is one thing that I hope you truly understand and know:
You are loved.
You are dear to your heavenly parents.
The infinite and eternal Creator of light and life knows you! He is mindful of you.
Yes, God loves you this very day and always.
He is not waiting to love you until you have overcome your weaknesses and bad habits. He loves you today with a full understanding of your struggles. He is aware that you reach up to Him in heartfelt and hopeful prayer. He knows of the times you have held onto the fading light and believed—even in the midst of growing darkness. He knows of your sufferings. He knows of your remorse for the times you have fallen short or failed. And still He loves you.
And God knows of your successes; though they may seem small to you, He acknowledges and cherishes each one of them. He loves you for extending yourself to others. He loves you for reaching out and helping others bear their heavy burdens—even when you are struggling with your own.
He knows everything about you. He sees you clearly—He knows you as you really are. And He loves  you—today and always!"

That quote helped me out a ton. It really gave me a boost. I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father whose love never fails. I have been so dependent on that for my mission. I have a deep testimony that our Father in Heaven lives and his love can change us and any of his children. The gospel is real and true. It is the greatest blessing that we as people have in this life.  I am grateful for Heavenly Fathers presence in my life and for his support and love during the deepening trials of life.

We worked hard this week and saw simple and subtle blessings pop up every once and a while. I am grateful for the mission and how it has taught me to be grateful for the smallest things that happen.

We are looking forward to a hopefully eventful week this coming week. Through all the things that are kind of running haywire, we are determined to make the necessary repairs and get this sector moving again! I am learning a great lesson in organization. Planning and organizing is always better.

I have learned to just laugh and smile even though things are hard sometimes. I am learning how much of a weapon a smile and good attitude can be! It’s helping me out a lot!!

Thank you all so much for your messages this week! Keep fighting in your daily lives. Put the gospel above everything else, and realize how much we all really do have! I love all of you so much and I am so grateful for all you do and for all your care that you show. I am so grateful for the inspiration that I receive from your messages week to week. I love you and miss you tons. I will be waiting to hear from you this next week, until then

 Elder Ethan Haws

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Week 55

Hey everyone! It’s a pleasure to be writing you all today.

To be honest the week was nothing too exciting. We worked hard and did what we could but nothing really turned around. We are waiting for the blessings to come around.

I’ll give you guys some highlights of what went down this week!

-          Elder Hampton from Utah got here to Coyquen this Tuesday. He is just about as old as me and has just 3 months more than I do in the mission. He is a lot different than Elder Sanabria. The whole feeling of the house changed quite a bit. We are getting to know him and we are adjusting well.

 -          Really strange week of weather. Last week it was blazing hot, but this week on Wednesday it suddenly turned bone chilling cold. It’s a roller coaster ride of weather here as well. It warmed up towards Friday and now it’s hot outside again.

 -          We are working pretty hard with Silvana and her family. We had two lessons this week. Both were great, she just has a lot of questions from having so much religious background. It is going to be difficult to really have her commit and seek to find the truth of our message. She also didn’t show up to church this week. It was pretty disappointing, but we will continue to push and involve the members in helping her and her family.

-          Mitzi has still been missing. That makes 3 weeks now. We are almost out of hope. Let’s hope that we will be able to find her in at least the next month.

 -          We had a cool FHE with the Vergara’s this Saturday. We watched the ‘‘Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration’’ movie. The family enjoyed it, they still don’t know much doctrine but they are on their way to being firm in the faith. Especially Constanza, she has told us that she wants to be a missionary. We gave her a ‘Preach my Gospel’ and everything. Her testimony is growing quite a bit. Felipe is having a bit of trouble with his testimony. He has grown up being pretty popular. The school where he goes to is mostly made up of flaites. It’s not an easy place to be as a kid. The adjustment of coming into the church was rough for him and he is trying to figure it all out right now. The balance between his social life and the adjustment into the church is his main difficulty. We are working with him and just being there for him as missionaries and as friends.

-          We are just trying to conquer all the laziness that some people have. It is a big struggle to help people to try and get up out of their beds on Sunday. Everyone seems to have an addiction to sleep on Sundays. It’s a bit hard working with people who don’t have much of a desire to do things.

-          Elder Bird and I started to go to the gym this week. Our zone leaders and other elders that live with them head over there every morning. We decided to start joining them. OUCH…… It’s been far too long since I’ve had a good workout like that. It’s sufficient to say that my muscles KILL right now. It’s great because Elder Jensen plays football for BYU and Elder Watts plays at Virginia. It’s cool having a personal trainer kind of deal with huge football players. Hopefully I will be in good shape in no time!

-          We had some cool service projects this week. First off we helped a family that recently got into the ward. They lived in Spain for a while and have a house here in Coyquen, and in another part of Chill├ín. On Wednesday we went over to their house here in Coyquen and helped them clean up a bit and lay sheetrock on the ceiling in their kitchen. The Dad is hilarious and we had a great time. They also invited us to stay over and we agreed. We had to cancel the other lunch that was scheduled and stayed there. We ended up having a delicious asado. At the other home, the other elders said that they had ‘’chupe de guatita’’, or stomach casserole! We got lucky on that one! Our other service was at a recent convert’s house. A really old man named David. He’s in his 80’s and I don’t think he is capable of cleaning his house and he lives alone. I don’t think the house had been cleaned in 20 years. We scrubbed mold covered walls, dust covered floors and various other rotten objects. It was gross, but we had fun.

 -          The senior couple that we live with got a new puppy. The other elders named it after me. They call it ‘Haws’ because I’m apparently… small… and innocent… Cool puppy though. His real name is ‘Jogey.’

-          I caught a flea this morning. It’s the first one I’ve seen in a long time. Retiro didn’t have a single flea, so you can say that I’ve been blessed. However, looks like now I’m going to have to get prepared for the return of the fleas. I don’t like fleas all that much. I took the captured flea and stuck it in my collection; I named it Jogey, just like our new puppy friend. It probably came from him…

So this week was pretty basic. Nothing too much to report, but I had a good time. Elder Bird and I are still pushing it as hard as we can and we have major plans and goals for this week. We are putting more of a focus in goals so that we can accomplish more. I love being in the service in the Lord. I feel so blessed to be out here serving my Chilean brothers and sisters. Sometime it is difficult dealing with some of the people and the difference of the culture, but we all have to learn how to love one another. It is a privilege to be blessed with so many opportunities to grow. I love the gospel, and I love living it! Let’s all live it as best as we can and reach out to others and help them in their lives.

I love all of you so much. You are such an inspiration to me every week. I miss you and pray for all of you. Thank you all so much for keeping me updated and for sending me your support. I love you and miss you all! Keep going and enjoy this week! Until the next!

Elder Ethan Haws

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Week 54

Some depressing graffiti out in front of the church in Volcanes (the sector next to Coyquen
Elder Vasquez messed around with Elder Sanabria's prized stuffed animal this week.
The message says "This is a cartel death threat, you or your family"
Wow, What a week!

What a week full of learning. I learned SO MUCH this week.

From finding new people to teach,  to general conference,  and an amazing mini cambio with my district leader ; I soaked in a lot of revelation for me and my life.

I am growing to know how prayers are answered and how God speaks to his children. I am grateful for a Heavenly Father who listens. And if we listen, He will guide us to safety, and the comfort of the gospel.

So, to start off, the week was pretty low key on everything except for finding people. We found 10 new investigators this week. I love the weeks where we accomplish the goals we have! Out of everyone, we found an Adventist family and two older women who seem like they are going to progress well and are going to follow their commitments to be baptized. The Adventist family consists of the mom, S, the daughters:  A (9), G (8); and the spouse who we haven’t really met with yet. Two weeks ago, I contacted S on the street with her friend and she was the one who stayed back and listened.  We visited them for the first time on Tuesday while I was on a mini cambio with Elder De Leon, our district leader.  They let us in and we had a great lesson. We explained who we were, what we do as missionaries, related what they had learned from previous missionaries that had visited them, and we gave them the first commitments that we give everyone:  to read, pray, and attend church.  They accepted. We also invited them to baptism. The daughter accepted and she said she would give it thought and think about it. Since they are Adventists, they will have lots of doubts, and lots of questions for us. It will be great teaching them to help myself understand the doctrine better, and help people clear their doubts.  They are honestly great people. They are honest and I think that alone will help us teach them clearly. It will be great working with them.

The other two older ladies let us in of Friday. One of them was someone I contacted during the mini cambio on Tuesday.  Their names are M and S. We passed by and they let us right in while they were watching some of their grand kids. We had a very cordial first visit. We also explained who we were, what we do as missionaries, and we gave them the first commitments to read, pray, and attend church.  They accepted as well. Usually the older folk are way more hesitant to listen to us and accept things but they accepted right off the bat. It will be interesting working with them as well.

Our work with the members was really down this week. I feel like our relationships with the members is withering away a bit. Elder Bird and I feel the need to go out this week and visit the members again. We plan to go out and get to know them better, and offer our service. We plan to share our message with them and invite them in the great hastening of the work that is covering the world. What a great privilege it is to go and be a part of the work of salvation. It is a great time to be a part of the gospel. We all need to reach out and lend a hand.

M has been gone the whole week. That makes two weeks that her house has been vacant. We are kind of worried that something fishy is going on. Let's hope that she gets back this week!

The mini cambio (mini transfer) on Tuesday was great. Elder Bird and I rode a bus for an hour to Quillon and met up with our district leader and his comp. Elder De Leon and I split off and headed back to Chillan. When we got back we dropped our stuff off and went out to do a few contacts before lunch. While we were going around and turning the corner to get to lunch with the other elders, there was a lady trying to start her car.  She had a dead battery. She and her two daughters were pushing the car to try and get it started, so we ran over and helped. The battery had been completely exhausted from leaving the lights on. We pushed the car forever. We went down the streets and ended up pretty far away so we called to inform the hermana who we had lunch with that we would be late and turns out that lunch was cancelled. So we went home after pushing the car to the nearest mechanic’s shack and headed to the house to cook up some eggs and eat some bread.  The afternoon was great. We had a great lesson with our convert, Eugenia. We went over the 5 points of the gospel of Christ with a focus on the Holy Ghost acting as a source to guidance and revelation. After the lesson we asked if there was anyone that she knew that was in a time of need and or would be interested in our message. She thought and suggested that we could pass by together and visit her neighbor. We headed over and visited her elderly neighbor friend. Her name is I. We had a brief visit, got to know her, offered her service, and left her with a few commitments.  Then we went around and visited other various people who let us in. We ended up finding 5 people that day.  I learned a lot that day. The biggest thing that I learned was that all we need to do as missionaries, is stay calm don’t worry about the bad things that may happen during the day and do everything in our power to do what we are supposed to do, especially follow the guidelines in preach my gospel.

General conference this weekend was AWESOME!!!!!

I absolutely loved the messages that were delivered. My eyes were glued to the screen for each session. As I grow through the mission, I love conference more and more and I feel the significance of it more and more. I felt like it was one of the most direct general conferences that I’ve ever seen.  I don’t know about you guys but I felt like the conference had some clear focuses.

-Prophets, the duty we have to sustain them, listen to them, and apply their words

-Testimony: Everything seemed to warn us about finding our personal testimony. It felt like a ‘hint hint’ for some future need for a clear and strong testimony. I think there are yet harder times on the horizon.

-Personal Revelation and the need for getting answers.

-Service: Especially helping those who need it. Reaching out to the poor and needy.

-And the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The center of the gospel and the church. We need to understand it and apply it. It is the thing that will sustain us through everything that is unjust in this world.

I especially loved the invitation that Richard G. Scott gave all of us. He talked about tools that Heavenly Father has given us to stay safe in these latter days:

-Scripture study and listening to modern prophets
-Family Home evening
-And temple attendance

I know these things can change our lives and truly transform us into Disciples of Christ. I know that if we apply his message, like he said ‘’A brilliant peace will come into our lives.’’ I want to invite all of us to really do what he said and really put that as an importance in our lives and do it more frequently.

I have seen so many good things this week and I feel truly lifted. I am grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ that can change our lives and transforms us into beacons of light so we can touch other people. Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father live. They love us, and guide us in these latter days. I am so grateful to be a part of the true church of our savior. I am grateful for the chance we had to listen to his mouth piece and the chance we have to apply all that we have learned. Let’s follow President Monson's counsel and try and be a little better and do the best we can!

Thank you all for all you do for me and all the support you send. I love all of you so much and it is such a blessing to have you in my life. I think about you and pray for you constantly. I miss you so much. Above all I am grateful for the chance that we have to be together forever. What a wonderful experience it will be to live with God together as a family. I love you and miss you tons.  Until next week!

Elder Ethan Haws

Baptism a few weeks ago

Week 53

"My companion had a fatal accident"

I am going to be pretty quick and detail-less because my draft that I was typing up just got deleted. So, with little to no time left in the cyber, I have to describe the week in a shorter version.

The week was hard on us. I expected it to be a little nicer due to me completing a year of my mission. It pushed us to our breaking points. We are still pretty tired and going crazy from all that happened, and all that there is to do.

Our investigators have kind of fallen off the map. M went out of town this week to visit Concepcion. We haven't been able to contact her because she doesn't even have a phone. Let’s hope she is doing good. We haven't seen her since last Sunday.

All our other investigators have kind of fallen off the radar, or have come to a stop in their progression. We are focusing on finding a lot more people. That is what we are doing for most of our time.

Mini Mission:
We had an activity this Saturday. We went to the countryside of Chillan to the branch called Quillon. We met up as selected missionaries and as the priest quorums of the stake. They divided us up and made us into companionships. I was put with two guys from my ward; Andres, the son of the first counselor in the bishopric here; and Diego, a way cool guy who is 16 years old. It was a good time. The only thing that was a bit disappointing was that it POURED all day long. It rained and rained and rained. By the end we were all soaked regardless of the rainproof stuff we had. All day we ran around Quillon being pretty lost and looking for directions that we had no idea where people were. Even though we found the houses, no one seemed to be home. So we had a lot of time to do some contacting. We spent most of the time trying to perfect our methods on contacting and teaching them the priests things that we do in the mission. It was fun, but a long day.


To get on our way home, we had to wait for a bus in even heavier rain for a good 30 minutes. It was just wet and cold the whole day.

Through the week we just faced rejection after rejection. Weird people and weird ideas. It wore down on us after a while. Elder Bird and I had some good talks this week. When the going gets tough, it’s always good to have communication.

This weekend is going to be awesome. ITS PRETTY MUCH CHRISTMAS FOR ME. I am so excited to hear the prophets and apostles deliver their messages. It is so amazing to have such a privilege. I have been trying to spread the hype and invite all the members and get them excited. It should be an amazing conference. I have so many questions that I hope will be answered. I’m sure they will. But I specifically invite every single one of you to pay special attention to conference. If we really do treasure up the words that will be delivered, we will be blessed with strength to continue onward and will have the privilege to move ourselves closer to our Heavenly Father.
 This week I really liked this scripture:

D & C 136: 31
My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion; and he that will not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom.

We not only have to be put through some tests, but we have to pass through all things. Sometimes we feel so pressured down, but we have to remember that all our experiences in this life are for our benefit in one way or another. God is so perfect, and knows us perfectly. I am grateful for the grand plan of salvation that he has revealed to us so that we can pass through hard times with a hope that good things will come.

Well, I know that this is a ridiculously short letter and I apologize for the technical difficulties.
 I hope that all of you are doing well. I love you all so much. I miss you and think about you! You are in my prayers. It is amazing to me that more than a year ago, we enjoyed our last night in the house. I thought on Friday of all that happened that night. That was powerful. I am grateful for a loving family and all the things we have been through. I love you so much more than I can say. I will see all of you soon enough. Have a great week guys!

Elder Ethan Haws

Something delicioso