Sunday, November 30, 2014

Week 61

Hey guys. Another week down... This time with a lot of new surprises, visits from the past, and so many opportunities for good things.

This week in Concé has been incredible and completely shocking. First off, Concé is big and overwhelming. It is unlike any other sector that I have ever been in. It’s like working in a downtown ghetto kind of place. I find it very interesting.

So Elder Bird and I left Chillán in a sudden transfer. It was both hard for us to leave everyone there. We set off early the next morning and we were both off to our new sectors. We arrived in Concé to a slight drizzle of rain and Elder Stockford met up with me. We called a taxi right away and we headed to our apartment building. We got up there and I started to unpack. We live in an apartment! Woohoo!! It is SO nice seeing carpet again!!! It is a big and spacious complex. We have 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a nice kitchen, a washing machine with a dryer, and an open room with our beds! It is the best house that I’ve been in during my whole mission. I feel so blessed. We live in the house with two other latinos, Elder Castellon from Bolivia and Elder Letelier from Viña del Mar, Chile. During the first 4 days of the week we also lived with 2 other elders but they had to move to the assistant's house (assistants to the president). During the week we had a good time in the house and there is already a good relationship between all of us.

Elder Stockford is from Oregon. He is 19 and has 6 weeks less than I do in the mission. He is a very straightforward person. It is very unexpected coming from him at first glance. He is a bit taller than me, wears glasses, has short brown hair and loves to laugh. He is going to be a good companion, I am excited to have the chance to get to know someone else. He loves music just like me!! His specialty is percussion and he is stinking good from what I have seen. It is cool to have a lot in common with a companion. He is the first companion that I’ve actually had something in common with!

The week was crazy. I am real close to my first sector, Villa Nonguen. I spent some time thinking back on those days. Those were good times.

On Tuesday we were preparing for district class, and Elder Stockford pulled me aside and told me someone wanted to meet me. We walked outside and what do you know, Cristian Moya was waiting. Cristian is a guy that was in Villa Nonguen. He is the brother of Jenny Moya. The Reyes Moya family was one of the coolest families in the entire sector. Cristian stayed with Jenny and her family for some time when I was there and apparently not too long ago he moved here to downtown. We saw each other and I gave him a big 'abrazo.' We couldn't believe it. It was cool seeing that he still remembered me and that our friendship still lives on. It was cool being able to speak with him with no problems. The last time I was with him, I had been in the mission for a little over 4 months. I still didn't know Spanish at all. But now, knowing Spanish, It was great to catch up on things.

On Sunday we went out and worked with him, visiting a few people here and there. While we were out there Jenny Moya called and I got to talk to her and her son Tommy. It was SO awesome getting to talk with them. I am so grateful to have such amazing relationships with so many cool people.

So the main part of the sector that we work in is this little ghetto part of the city that has a ton of flaites. It is the most distinct sector that I have ever had. It has been interesting. Due to Elder Stockford being direct and sometimes a little more.... persistent (aggressive) we saw a lot of crazy things. We had people scream at us rejecting us at their doors, the craziest contacts with drunk people, and here and there we found some good people. There is a lot of big apartments that we go and contact. And around the area there are big soccer fields and dirt roads. There is also a big hill with a famous tower on it that is famous in the mission. I will be going up there one of these days. We spent most of the time entering these apartments and knocking doors. That is how we are finding the majority of the people. There is a lot of crazy drunks that roam around here so just get ready to hear some funny stories over the next couple weeks.

My new district leader is good ol' crazy Elder Garcia. It’s been a while since I’ve seen him too. He is still the same crazy Colombian that I used to know. It will be fun working with him as well.
We have a cool ward mission leader. He owns a cool sandwich shop called 'Planet Sandwich'. (that's another weird thing that still surprises me. For a lot of the brands, restaurants, and other various things they use a lot of English terms and phrases. I don't know why they just don’t stick to Spanish). He is young and a returned missionary. It is great seeing that we have someone that is willing to work and that is excited about it. It will be great having someone that is a bit more connected.

We have our ward soccer activity every Thursday night. We had some good games going. In the last game, I scored the goal to win it all. It was awesome! It feels good when everyone comes in screaming ''GOLAZO'' and celebrating.

Today we went to a soccer field with artificial turf. It’s the same one we went to when I lost my wallet (if any of you remember that story). Thankfully I didn't lose anything this time. PHEW... But it was a great game. I also got to talk with my good ol' companion Elder Martinez. He is now in Collao. He just left Retiro last week. He left it going good. He baptized various people, and now there are 52 people attending church on average. It was good to catch up with him as well. During the week it has been awesome catching up with so many people that I have known. I feel like at last I have a good group of friends and I know most of the mission now!

Alright, that’s all I’ve got. They cut down our time to be in the Cyber on Mondays. So I’ll talk to you all next week! I love you all so much! Thank you all for keeping me updated. I miss you and love you all!

Elder Ethan Haws

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 60

Here we are. Another transfer cycle down. The week was crazy. It was a big push to leave the sector up and running for the end of the transfer cycle.

But, boy did we receive news today..... I will explain later.

The week was good. We made some progress with investigators (AT LAST).

So here is the main story with investigators.

You probably don't remember that Elder Bird and I started teaching a lady named Edita and her son Cristobal a while back, but we found them and had a good first lesson and such but we had to drop them for a time because they were busy building a second floor to their house.
Last Saturday we went back and visited them. We had a great lesson. They listened to us and payed attention during the lesson and participated. They had shared with missionaries before but didn't quite get baptized because they thought that if they got baptized, Cristobal would be obligated to serve a mission.

Edita is like 50 years old or something and her son Cristobal is 24. Edita is a very nice lady who doesn't believe in churches but she believes in God. She is interested to know if our church could be true.

Cristobal is really cool. He speaks English better than any other Latino that I have met here in the mission. He is studying in the University of Concepcion. He likes video games and has a pretty chill personality.

We visited them on Wednesday and Friday and they both were good lessons. We mostly talked about the restoration and the role of Jesus Christ. We committed them to baptism and they accepted to prepare.

Edita came to church on Sunday! That was a huge success for us. We finally have someone progressing in the church. 

Our main achievements with less actives were 2 things.

1. We are still working with Carol, the inactive lady we found last week. We had a good lesson this week and are happy that she is progressing so fast and has a big desire to go to church despite knowing nearly nothing about the gospel. It is a good opportunity for us to find more people to teach and to see miracles in her life.

2. At church, we saw a miracle. Jennifer Candia is a less active that Elder Bird has been working with for his entire time here. She has had problems with the members, and has had some sad experiences. She confided in us and explained the whole situation and it is complicated. She had a giant testimony of the church and still has the desire to go, she just has a hard time dealing with the things that have happened. To our surprise she showed up to church this week at the last part. We were shocked and thrilled.

Chillán was hot this week. The temperatures are rising to the low 90's and high 80's. With all the humidity it feels so much worse. I'm just used to being in the dry-as-a-bone desert.

We did a lot of service this week. We helped some families clean up their patios, and even painted the Vergara's fence. Giving service is always a highlight for me.

So turns out for cambios we are seeing something pretty unusual. First off. Elder Bird is leaving the sector to Concepción. He will be in a part called ´´Laguna Redonda.'' Now since there has been fewer missionaries coming into the mission and more people finishing the mission, our numbers aren't able to sustain so many sectors. Not only is Elder Bird leaving the sector, but I am as well. I will be heading off to Downtown Concepción. I even believe that Elder Bird and I will be working in the same chapel. It was a shock for us. Our sector is now closing down. Elder Hampton and Vazquez are going to have to hold down the fort here in Coyquen and balance all of the stuff they have in their sector, and take all of our converts, less actives, and investigators. I still can’t believe how crazy it all is.

With all this shock it is hard for me to describe what else this effects in the sector. We were seeing a lot of progress recently, and finally seeing connections and relations with the people we have been working with. This will be a shorter letter because there is nothing else to describe but shock! I am excited to be going down to Concé and getting to know that area now. I am in for some good times. I feel like Chillán has helped me grow up EVEN MORE. I am ready to take the mission by the reigns and make it all that I can.

Thank you for all that you guys do for me. I love you all so much. I love hearing from you and talking with you (on email). I am so grateful for all the prayers. I feel them lifting me up. I know that the gospel is true and it is our crutch in our hardest times. God will always lift us up in the end if we just stretch out our hand. I am now in for many more adventures and many more good times. Until next week.

Elder Ethan Haws

Monday, November 10, 2014

Week 59

This week was interesting. It may have been really low on the outward numbers, but we figured out a lot of things that Elder Bird and I needed to learn in our companionship. It was a week of few ‘’numbers,’’ but full of work.

Nevertheless we did see some great progress with the less actives that we have been working with. We are at least very happy with that. The hardest thing for us right now is our investigators. They are dropping like flies. We took this week very hard because the people we had hope for suddenly hit barriers and are slowing down dramatically. It was a hard week all in all.

Here are some things that are happening with our main investigators:

Last week she took off with her brother to who knows where. She has been gone since then. Her neighbor said that she would be back soon but she still hasn’t returned. This makes nearly 6 weeks being absent in total. We are soooooooo close to dropping her because it is very difficult to help her while she is running off so frequently.

 Sandra Benz:
Sandra has developed some bad arthritis in her knee. Nearly all of the ligament, tendon, and fluid in her knee have disappeared. The doctors say her joint is now nearly bone to bone. Now that she can barely walk, it is impossible for her to climb the stairs to get to the (what is it called…. Sacrament room?) on the second floor. She wants to go to church, but she is kind of disabled because of her knee.

We had a visit with him this week on Friday. We were very direct again. This time we went there without Jose Arias. We asked him about church, and he said he didn’t feel anything or feel anything different like he always does. We talked a bit more and we came down to the point that he doesn’t have any interest at all to find out if God really exists or if anything about the church is important. He doesn’t recognize the importance of anything spiritual. We talked a lot about how spiritual things do exist, how Christ is our savior, and how these things can change our lives. The lesson was really powerful. The spirit was present in the house. The usual hectic atmosphere in the house, caused by the younger sibling, disappeared. The house was quiet and the spirit bore witness. It is tough because Jonathan doesn’t pay attention to his feelings, especially the spiritual ones.

He ended up staying at a friend’s house for the whole weekend. He didn’t show up to soccer or to church.

Less actives:

Camila Candia

These are some less actives that Elder Bird has been working with for his entire 6 months here in Chillán. They haven’t once gone to church. Regardless, they are incredible people. I have had some great visits with them during my time here. This week we invited Elsa Soto to come by with us to visit them. She is one of the original members that were here when the ward started, and they knew this family very well. We went by and had a great lesson. We talked about how important the sacrament is and how much of a blessing it is in our lives. It was another great, spiritual lesson.

To our surprise they showed up to church this week. Elder Bird was ecstatic and I was too. 

Our biggest challenge was our plans that fell. There were hardly any members that could accompany us at our appointments. Our plans were pretty filled with lots of things to do, but all of those things kept on falling, it made a very stressful week.

When all the pressure built up, the tension built up between Elder Bird and I as well. Through conflicts and being pushed to breaking points we were able to work out other things in our companionship. I think the stress came this week for a reason. And that was for me to learn a valuable lesson. Mom sent me an article from the Liahona or something at the beginning of my mission with some advice to missionaries on it. The first point was the theme for the week and the biggest lesson I learned. It said something along the lines of ‘’No matter what happens learn to love your companion.  There is a huge correlation between success and the relationship you have with your companion.’’ To me that has been 100% true for me in my mission. I think these weeks and nearly my whole mission have been up and down due to that principle. But, It’s not the only thing that affects it. Diligence, obedience, and serving with your heart is all part of it. But I am glad that I now know how important it is to resolve conflicts and love your companion no matter what. I think it also extends beyond that. It can apply to marriage, family relationships, and can help the quality of our social groups. I think that if we learn how to work with others well and always show Christ-like love to all, we will always be successful.

 ‘’Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

 38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’’
(Matthew 22:39)

We are looking forward to a great week. All the visits we lost this last week were pushed to this week. It is also 99% probable that Elder Bird will be leaving this next Monday. We will be working very hard to enjoy these last few moments as a companionship.

We had a good soccer game on Saturday. Finally with a good team, I was able to score some goals! I'm getting better!! THERE IS STILL HOPE!  The sun is getting more intense to lead us into summer. Elder Bird and I are as red as lobsters! We are so sun burnt.

We had to stop going to the gym this week because it was interfering with our schedule too much. Although I was seeing some serious improvements in that short time, I will just have to postpone the good old gym till after the mission.

Not too much of a long message this week, but there isn’t too much to report. Thank you so much for all you do for me. I love you all so much. I love hearing from you weekly and seeing what is going on in your lives! Thank you! I love you and miss you tons!! Until next week.

Elder Ethan Haws

Week 58

Wow! This week was PACKED. There is so much that happened. It was probably one of my best weeks here in Chillán, progress and work wise. We found so many people this week!  From investigators to less actives, the members were helping us find tons of people. I’ll explain some really cool experiences of how we found these people.

At the very start of the week on Monday, we had Mitzi go over to a FHE with some other members and investigators that the other elders are teaching. We helped her get over there and then we took off to another FHE that Jose Arias had invited us to. He said that he was going to invite someone over so that we could teach. (Just a review, Jose Arias is an awesome semi-recent returned missionary that served in Argentina. He is about one of the most powerful people I have met in Chile. His knowledge of the gospel and his enthusiasm for missionary work is incredible. It has been a privilege getting to learn from him. I learn tons from this guy.) It turned out, however, that the people didn’t show up. We ended up discussing developing Christ-like attributes during our life and as our time as missionaries. We got down into great detail.

So, the people he invited are a family that has been inactive for a while. The dad, Juan Luis was baptized a little over a year ago; he went inactive because of work and some other family situations. Jose Arias is now their home teacher. He approached us to help him rescue this family. Their oldest son, Jonathan, is 16 and has been investigating the church for a very long time. Elder Sanabria was even working with him for a while. So we decided that during the week we would help Jose Arias out and work with this family.

Later in the week we passed by and had a great lesson. Jose Arias accompanied us as well. We were very direct. We asked very specific questions. We found out that in the first place he doesn’t even know who Jesus Christ is or what he really did. He doesn’t believe in prophets or authority. It gave us the direction to take right away. We shared our testimonies and invited him and his dad to accompany us to church on Sunday. We also specifically invited him to a ward FHEon Friday, a soccer game on Saturday, and church on Sunday. Through a miracle, HE CAME TO ALL OF THE ACTIVITIES AND TO CHURCH BY HIMSELF. His dad also came to church with him on Sunday. It is a great blessing and we are seeing the progress we are making by working through members.

Mitzi has been giving us some trouble. Now that she has dropped alcohol and cigarettes, she is going through some tough times with all the medical trouble from all of the drug abuse. She seems a bit more stressed and worn down, which is normal after dropping those things after being addicted for so long. We also invited her to some various activities at the church and to sacrament meeting but she didn’t show up to any of them. Out of the blue this Saturday, her brother came by and took her off to his house for the weekend. We were very disappointed and are a bit disheartened. We have to start all over again with her church attendances and basically build all the way up again so that she can get baptized. We will see how committed she is to continuing and hopefully she will be able to still progress fast and still get baptized this month.

We had a mini cambio this Tuesday and our District leader, Elder De Leon came to Chillán, and I headed off to Quillón. Miracles happened when I was gone. Apparently they left and visited a few people with a member named Julia Arriagada. After a very disappointing visit where they were basically thrown out of a house of an Old Catholic lady, Julia threw out references to people that she had known that lived close to where they were. I can’t remember the initial name she threw out but they went out to look for it. My companion Elder Bird has some documents of all the members in the phone that we have and he looked up the possibilities of the people that lived where Julia said. They found one and went and knocked on the door. A woman came out and was hesitant to let the missionaries in, after some persistence they got in and began to teach. This woman’s name is Carol. She lives in a huge area of houses that is concealed from the street. When you approach where she lives there is a house and next to it there is a metal wall/gate. When the gate is opened, there is a line of about 10 houses or so. She lives in one of those. She is a member of the church. She was baptized when she was 11 and went inactive at about 15 because of family and drugs. Apparently it was a good lesson. The Elders began to teach, during the lesson Elder De Leon said a specific line, ‘’Salvation is real and it is in your own hands.’’ Carol began to cry and hugged Hermana Julia. Apparently Carol had been praying the night before in a time of desperation to know if there was salvation in this life and if was possible to find it. She said the missionaries were an answer to her prayers. I got to visit her on Friday and she is an awesome person. She has a very energetic 7 year old son, and has a very small house and is living with her…. Ugggg…. How do you say ‘’pareja’’ in English…… Spanish is just too good now. She is living with another guy and they aren’t married. So, they need to get married and she is very excited to coming back to church and finding the joy and peace of the gospel. She came to the ward FHE and to church on Sunday!

During the mini cambio they also found another less active through another member in the night. Her name is Jaquelin. She has been inactive for about 10+ years and has an 11 year old son. She didn’t show up at church this week but she is very promising and is very excited to coming back to church.

It was pretty cold this week. Some cold fronts came through in the first part of the week and it just made the whole week cold. Hopefully the week warms up again. I really like the warmth.

It was Elder Bird’s birthday this Wednesday. Last Sunday I coordinated with Jimena Vergara, and some other Hermana’s and we set up a ‘’FHE – Surprise birthday party.’’ Elder Bird said that it was the first surprise birthday party where he had no clue that it was going to happen. It was a great party. The members really love Elder Bird. He has been here for almost 6 month now and knows all of the members very well. It was good to see how much it all cheered him up. It was a good night.

Elder Bird’s birthday party

It was a very successful week. We had 10 less actives in church this Sunday!! We taught a lot of lessons and saw some serious blessings being poured out on us.
I know that the Savior has His time and knows us personally and is waiting to mold us to who He knows we can become. I am grateful to be in a position where I can be His clay and be completely reliant on His guide. I know He lives. I know He guides. I know that our Heavenly Father hears and answers honest and humble prayers. I know that their love is infinite.

So it’s been great writing you all. It’s been great listening to this one guy out in the plaza where we are ROCKING his saxophone to ‘’How great thou art’’ for the last forever.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from all of you and listen to all that is happening in your lives. I love you all so much. I miss you all, and I look forward to seeing you again. Until next week

 Elder Ethan Haws 

"A cool lizard we spotted a while ago"

Monday, November 3, 2014

Week 57

Picture of Elder Bird and Elder Haws taken at the interviews with President Arrington
Zone Conference Zona Chillan from a few weeks ago

Another Monday morning in the cyber here, in downtown Chillán.

Every single Monday it feels like this day comes sooner, and the week gets shorter.

Anyway, this week we felt like there was a bit of progression. Missionaries in general have been going through a drought like Elder Bird and I have. We aren't sure what is going on in Coyquen, but as we are looking for answers we are slowly finding clues. It’s like a big treasure hunt!

We had some great things happen this week. Behind the great things, it was pretty general. I’ll tell some of the highlights

1. Mitzi

First off, on Tuesday Elder Bird were returning from district class and decided to try our luck and swing by Mitzi's. As we approached we noticed someone standing on the corner……. It was her. HOORAY!
We went up and talked and visited with her for just a bit. She had been in Talcahuano for 4 weeks, visiting various family members, friends, and was even in a hospital for a few days. The strange thing was that she seemed 100x better than she was before. She seemed more alive, less dramatic, and less distant. It was strange how different she is!
She has now almost given up smoking! She is down to 2-3 cigarettes. She used to be smoking 2 packets daily! It is a huge improvement! We are preparing her to be baptized in 2 more weeks!

2. Silvana w/ Jose Arias.

We have not been progressing with Silvana lately. She has major doubts and won’t really look past the things she already knows. We took in the big guns this week……
There is an awesome returned missionary in the ward named Jose Arias. He served in Argentina about 2 years ago and was an excellent and a very successful missionary. We have had some amazing conversations about the gospel with him. He has taught me TONS!! This week we got him to go with us to visit Silvana. It was a good lesson where we pulled out her main doubts (Saturday as the Sabbath day and Spirits are dormant and unliving). We didn't accomplish much on the side of teaching (She didn’t listen much) but we did firmly invite her to read the book of Mormon and pray. We´ll see how it all goes. We are most likely going to drop her. It all depends on if she will listen and keep her commitments.


Oh boy.... Chillán is heating up. We are nearing the summertime.
I’ve heard during my entire mission that Chillán is the hottest place in the entire mission.
It is...
And we are only getting started!

We have broken out the fans, sunscreen, and the short sleeved shirts, but we are still getting scorched by the furnace that Chillán is! It is hard getting contacts now because no one dares to be in the street during the day. We are having to think of new strategies!

There was one visit that I thought was cool. We went to see this one old Catholic lady. It was in the early afternoon and we entered her house and began to get to know her. I had visited with her previously when I found her on a mini cambio that I had with my district leader a while back.
While visiting, there was a knock on the door and two men showed up. They were catholic priests! It was show-time. They came in and started to bash with us instantly. It was time to stand up and defend the faith. They began shouting and saying things like ''You worship Joseph Smith, your church is based on men and ours was founded by Christ.'' We quickly began testifying and sharing the message of the Restoration. It became powerful as the spirit filled us and we began to share. In the end they were too hardened to listen to us but we defended our belief. It felt really good to share my testimony in the face of such opposition.

In general the week was just trying to find out how to get things moving again and get the members excited to work with us. We got a lot of references this week. We are very content with that. Elder Bird and I are trying to figure out how to be better at all that we are doing. We realize that there is a lot that we can be doing better so we are focusing on just building up with the basics.

It’s Halloween this week! I hope you guys have fun. I have no idea what will happen, but I imagine that the only people that will be out on Halloween night will be the usual drunks that roam the streets in the evenings.

Sorry for a shorter letter, but we are just dealing with the basics here. We are so glad we found Mitzi again and that she is still excited to be baptized. We are seeing small and significant blessings. I am grateful for all those blessings that do come.

I want to share with you guys and awesome video that I found this week that really touched me and that I have been sharing with people during the week.

I want to invite you to watch that and reflect on what the sacrament means for each one of us. I have a deep testimony of the great atoning sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I am so grateful to participate in such a holy ordinance every week to help me remember him and remember his sacrifice. What will we do to remember Him?

Thank you all so much for all your messages and all your inspiration. It is so wonderful to hear from all of you. I love you all so much! Until Next week!

Elder Ethan Haws

More zone conference pictures; Elder Haws waiting for food

More zone conference pictures