Monday, December 29, 2014

Week 66

The Missionaries of "El Centro" with the Gonzalez Family

Wow, we had a good time this week. Christmas was really good and I had a good time. It’s strange to think that this was my last Christmas in the mission.

So everyone (us missionaries) was pretty excited for Christmas to start out the week.


Monday was simple. We did our contacts and found a complete family. We have been talking to some youth in the Street and there are a group of boys that are always playing soccer out in the streets and we have been talking with one specifically. His name is Sebastian. A few days earlier we asked if we could pass by and he said yes. We stopped by on Monday and he let us in. We had a good short lesson by sharing He is the Gift. We then went to a FHE with Carlos Gonzales and he invited a couple that he knew that lived down the street. Their names are Jonathan and Solange. It went really well. We talked about Christmas and sang hymns. We also shared a bunch of guacamole and chips.

 Tuesday: The Christmas Devotional

So on Tuesday the ENTIRE MISSION headed to Chillan to go to the annual mission Christmas Devotional. The mission contracted like 6 busses to go out and pick up all the missionaries and get them to and from the activity.

It was awesome seeing all the missionaries there and seeing all the friends I’ve made over the last year. It was good spending some good time with everyone. To start it out every zone had to do a skit. We simply took it spiritually and performed a couple songs as a choir and had some of the elders act out a scene of finding a man, teaching him and later him being baptized. There were some hilarious skits all in all.

After that, we watched the Christmas video that the office elders put together, listened to a talk that Elder Ferreira gave (The area 70 here, yes good old Elder Ferreira from Nonguen) and ate lunch. We had a great time.

Mexico City MTC group reunited, good old District 9A

Felipe Vergara with Elder Haws

E. Sanabria, E. Garcia, Felipe, E. Haws, E. Bird

Wednesday: Christmas Eve

Our highlight was going to Carlos Gonzalez’s house for Christmas Eve dinner. We had a simple dinner. Carlos cooked up a huge mound of meat and his spouse Nancy is from Mexico so we had some Mexican side dishes as well. It was great spending some time with them and enjoying Christmas.

An awesome Chorillana for Christmas Eve
Elder Stockford


Christmas was very simple for me. Elder Stockford and Castellon wanted to go out and play soccer at the church in the morning so they went leaving Elder Letelier and I at the house to relax and enjoy the morning. We went to lunch, then came back and called the family, then we went to an activity that the mission put on and we went back and relaxed a bit more at the chapel while some people played soccer. It was a simple day. The greatest thing was talking with the family. It didn’t make me too homesick but really lifted my spirits.

 Friday through the weekend:

Not much happened because a lot of people just left the city for Christmas. It was a bit of a struggle getting to teach people because the whole weekend was pretty much one whole holiday. But we did see success. We called our Golden investigator, Estefano, on Friday and asked how he was doing. He said that he had been reading the book of Mormon and he said that he had been learning things that he didn’t know before. Also he said that he had been praying every day and it had been working… We invited him to church and he was all for it! We were stoked. We passed by Sunday morning as we had said and he was all ready. We went to church. He loved it and even participated a lot in the gospel principles class. We are so stoked to continue to work with him. We have faith that if he continues to keep his commitments, he will be baptized in no time.

It was a good but simple week. Now we are in another cambio! Elder Stockford is leaving to Parral and Elder Flores is coming to replace him. Elder Flores is Chilean and I think he has about 7 or 8 months in the mission. I don’t know much about him but I’ve heard he is pretty cool! I am excited to see how it goes! It’s another page to the mission book!

Thanks for all that you guys do! I love you all so much and I hope that you had a very good Christmas! I love you all so much and it was so good seeing you for a few moments. I’m sorry I couldn’t put very many details in the letter this week due to the short time I had. But I’ll try and put more in next week! Until then.

Elder Haws

Week 65

Wow, we are so close to Christmas! How time flew by! I cannot believe that It is almost here, we have been working our guts out to get the He is the Gift initiative to all of Concepción. I guess the saying is true; time flies when you’re having a good time.

We had some cool experiences this week.

First off from the activity last week we were able to get some good references. We saw one that was pretty cool and we called the guy up. His name is Estefano. He is from Chile but knows English and even lived in the UK for about a year while studying in Cambridge. We called him up and set up an appointment and he was very excited about it. Seeing that he was excited we were pumped to go visit him the next day. So the next day we went by and he let us right in. He lives in a huge apartment building kind of like ours but a lot nicer. We got in and we just started speaking English. It was so weird. I’m now so accustomed so that when I’m in another person’s house I just speak Spanish. We hit it off really well. He is also engaged to his fiancé named Maria Jesus (What a coincidence, eh?). So we are excited for that. No one here in Chile, and I imagine in the world now wants to be married. They only live together unmarried. Estefano is 22 and Maria is 20.

We started the lesson and to start it off we shared He is the gift. Estefano didn’t have time to see the video while he was passing by in the activity, just give his reference. So we shared the video with him and Maria. They loved it and we began talking about a lot of subjects mainly focused on their religious background and Christ. They have a lot of doubts about the churches because they have just have had bad experiences. So we taught a bit of the restoration and gave them pamphlets. They were excited and we set up an appointment for the next day. They are SUCH cool people. We are so excited to be teaching them!!!

We came back the next day and Maria was feeling a bit sick, so she just stayed back in the other room. We were able to talk to Estefano and he started right off the bat and said something like, ‘’Guys, I loved the pamphlet, especially one part. I was reading in the part about Joseph Smith and where it said that God told him that the other churches were wrong and said that the honor me with their lips but their hearts are still far from me, and that part really struck me. I mean I felt like a shock and I felt like it was true.’’ We just sat there in unbelief. NO ONE ever reads the pamphlets or even pays attention to us in lessons EVER. It was a Christmas miracle….. With our minds reeling we started to teach and go through the pamphlet with him. We got to the book of Mormon and it got pretty spiritual. We pulled out a copy and gave it to him with a chapter to read. He responded saying, ‘’Awesome I was just going to ask you where I could get a copy so that I could read it.’’

Let’s just say that we were stoked and we invited him to baptism and church and he accepted both but he said that he wasn’t sure about a date to be baptized because he wanted to read the book a little bit first. Same with going to church. We said of course you should do that and left him with the invitations. We are going to be working with him this week and with Maria and we are excited to see how they will progress. They are as golden and golden gets here in Chile!!

So Christmas time is close and people are 90% more stressed and mean. It was really hard contacting people this week because they all wanted NOTHING. But oh well we sure gave it our all.

We had a multi stake Christmas concert in Glaizner last night and it was awesome. And because it was multi stake the Andalien stake came as well! As I hoped, people came pouring in from Nonguen. It was incredible seeing them. I thought that they had all forgotten about me because it was about a year ago, but they all saw me and shouted ELDER HAWS!! They all came and greeted me, The Ruminots, Rosas, Fransisco de la Torre, The Reyes Moya Family, and all of the Ferreiras were all there! It was awesome catching up and oh man it was like seeing best friends after a very long time. I love those people so much and I am sure that our friendships will last into the eternities.

I am excited for Christmas and really enjoying the meaning of it more than I ever have before. It will be very spiritual I am sure.

We are having a huge Christmas activity as missionaries. The ENTIRE mission is heading to Chillan to have a big conference. We expect that something big will happen. We are hoping that we will see a general authority because as rumor has it the Concé temple will begin construction in January and an authority, or an apostle needs to be there to do it. We are hoping that an apostle will come! So just rumor…. Let’s hope it happens.
Merry Christmas everyone! I hope this week goes well for all of you! I love you all so much. I miss you all terribly and I love you all so much. May this week be the merriest and jolliest of all!!

 I love parts of the message President Monson Gave some years ago:

In the New Testament of our Lord, John describes a journey by those who would worship.

“And there were certain … among them that came up to worship at the feast:

“The same came therefore to Philip … and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.” (John 12:20–21; italics added.)

Little children have another way of expressing the same wish. Most often they say, “Tell me the stories of Jesus I love to hear, things I would ask him to tell me if he were here.” They seek after Jesus, and so it has ever been. No search is so universal. No undertaking so richly rewarding. No effort so ennobling. No purpose so divine.…

The formula for finding Jesus has always been and ever will be the same—the earnest and sincere prayer of a humble and pure heart. The prophet Jeremiah counseled, “Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” (Jer.29:13.)

And when we find him, will we be prepared as were the wise men of old to provide gifts from our many treasures? They presented gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These are not the gifts Jesus asks of us. From the treasure of our hearts Jesus asks that we give of us: “Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind.” (D&C64:34.)

In this marvelous dispensation of the fullness of times, our opportunities to give of ourselves are indeed limitless, but they are also perishable. There are hearts to gladden. There are kind words to say. There are gifts to be given. There are deeds to be done. There are souls to be saved.
Until the next one. MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Elder Ethan Haws  

Week 64

Alright! Another week, and another step closer to Christmas.

This week was interesting! I got a little sick during the week so our work for the week kind of went down but we still had good experiences.
I had to stay in the house on Wednesday to get better and we had a massive activity on Thursday that took up the whole day and that left us with two days less in the week.

I’ll tell you about the highlights and the updates from the week.

First: the activity:

We had an awesome activity on Thursday using ''He is the Gift''. Our zone got together and we were able to get a hold of 3 TVs, a huge speaker system, tables, and all the missionary hand outs and copies of the Book of Mormon that were available. We went to a plaza Downtown and set up a big area where we showed Because of Him and He is the Gift where people passing by could see it. It was AWESOME. We stopped hundreds of people and were able to tell many about the true meaning of Christmas. It was awesome to see how many people stopped to see the video. It sure brought the feeling and spirit of Christmas to all of us. It was a sure success. We gave out a huge box of copies of the Book of Mormon and President Arrington, his wife, and the assistants even showed up.

Second: We finished up the service project from painting the old house of Rosita Castillo. We had a good time while painting the house.

Third: We had interviews with President this week. And for a special twist he made us teach him for 5 minutes about the Atonement. It was a bit intimidating but it went really well. The interview helped me a ton. It is always good to talk to president.

We found a way cool guy this week who has been sharing with the missionaries and had almost gotten baptized. His name is Ramón and he is 103 YEARS OLD. He’s really old and about the nicest little old man you could ever imagine. Apparently he was actually 100% ready to be baptized, and got to the week of his baptism and his highly Evangelical family came and talked him out of it. Now he is under restraints to leave his house from his family and everything, but it was good visiting him. We don't see it as very possible that he could get baptized but we at least want to prepare him well for when he passes on.

We are focusing on two investigators at the moment. All the rest have faded away.

First, Francisco. We weren't able to find him this week because he was busy with family commitments and he also got confirmed in the Catholic church. We aren't too worried because recently he has had some serious doubts about what people have been doing in their church and from some scriptures he had found that were contrary to some doctrine, so we are working with that! He didn't make it to church this week but we are looking forward to this weekend.

Second, Macarena. She is the girlfriend of a less active boy that has been out of the church for quite some time. She is 15 and pregnant and the less active is named Hanz and is 17 years old. She has been super interested in the church and has had the desire to attend on Sundays and everything. We are working with her a bit slower because President doesn't wanting us baptizing her too fast to make sure that she is committed and has a support system before all of that.

It’s a short letter but that's all I’ve got! Thanks for everything guys! I love you so much. I love hearing from you and what's going on in your lives.
Thanks for all the work you have done to print off all the pictures I lost. Thanks for the sacrifice!

I miss you guys tons especially during this Christmas season. I wish I could be there with you enjoying the possibly white lawn with the hot chocolate and the Christmas tree and all that comes with it! Just enjoy it all for me. I love all of you so much! Until next week!

Elder Ethan Haws

Monday, December 8, 2014

Week 63

 "So this is hillarious.  This is one of the stinking dogs that wouldn't go away so we just buried it"
Alright, here we are again! Another week down.

We had a good time this week. There are a lot of adventures so I’ll include just a few.

Dedication of the sector:

So last week we were planning and thinking of things that we could do to improve the sector. We got a little off topic and somehow it led to the idea of something more. I had always wanted to go and do something along the lines of going to a hill in the sector and offering a prayer to plead with Heavenly Father to bless the sector for good that we could see the work progress. I threw out the idea and everyone loved it. We took some time and climbed the biggest hill in the sector. Up there on the hill there are many big trees and a famous tower thing that is now unclimbable due to the earthquake in 2010. We went up there and offered a prayer. It was very spiritual. In a way we asked the Lord that he could dedicate the sector and that we could begin to see miracles. When we got down, from that moment on, we swore that the sector felt a bit different. It was a bit more calm, and fewer people yelling at us.

Soccer tournament:

This Thursday we organized a little soccer tournament between all of the quorums including YM's, Elders Quorum, High priests, and Missionaries.  It was a good tournament. We ended up in 2nd place and Elders winning it all. I’m getting a lot better at soccer, I’m nowhere near good still, but hey there’s progress.

 Elder Haws in a park in Tome on the way to the beach

 The beach in Tome

The Beach:

Today we went to the beach in Tomé. It is beautiful there. We played Soccer, Volleyball, and Ultimate Frisbee. We also had a herd of dogs following us around. The stinking dogs….. They never go away here. Ha, actually we were walking to the beach and they wouldn’t go away so our zone leader, Elder Donoso, Kicked the soccer ball at one of the dog’s and it got mad and started attacking one of the other dogs and soon all of them were in commotion. They are very unintelligent creatures around here. You just had to see it to be funny.  Anyway, we had a good time and messed around for a while. It’s always fun spending the morning at the beach.

"So we ended up making it into a turtle monster thing...."

Famous Drunks:

So maybe some of you remember, in my first sector, Nonguen I was always talking with the famous town drunks. Good old ‘’John Anthony, Nelson, Gato, Guido’’, and others. I hadn’t been in a sector with famous drunks again until now. There are some pretty hilarious guys here. One of them is called, to us, El Viejito Pascuero. That’s what they call Santa Claus here. It’s this old shorter guy who is kind of slouched over with sunken eyes and a ball cap. Elder Stockford always messes with him and tries to turn his hat around every time he sees him.  His classic thing is he gives a jolly and half drunken ‘’Oh Oh!’’ It’s not a deep voice that he has, rather he sounds like a drunken elf. It’s really hilarious. He always says just about the same thing. ‘’Oh oh! Pascuero, me falta poco (stroking his beard). Oh oh!’’ and just rambles on. Sometimes he just swears a bunch and just goes off to his shoe repair shack. The other day we were walking down the street and he was up about two blocks from us and we shouted ‘’Pascuero!’’ He didn’t even turn around but just stood there and lifted his fist up in the air victoriously and walked into his house. Funny stuff.

He is the Gift:

So this new initiative has been incredible. Already, this has been one of the most meaningful Christmas seasons of my entire life. Sharing the true meaning of Christmas has been miraculous. People have been listening to us more and we have seen many hearts almost accept our invitations. We have had a few lessons with just sharing the video and those have been some of the most spiritual lessons that I’ve had here in my mission. People just start to cry when they see the video and cry harder when we talk about the love of our loving Heavenly Father and our Savior. It is a miraculous time to be a missionary and to see hearts opening. The Lord is preparing people to hear this message and it’s incredible. It’s like He and his servants have been chumming the waters for people to notice the gospel.

Our investigators are doing well. We had three of them in church this weekend! WOO HOO!

We weren’t able to visit with Fransisco this week but he is still our main focus. Not much happened other than looking for and finding more people.  We are working well with members and seeing progress through that. We are happy to see that the work is progressing.

That’s about all that I have for now! I hope that all of you are doing well!! I miss you very much and I love you all tons!! I hope that all of you are enjoying the wonderful Christmas season. Can’t wait to be talking to all of you again over skype. We still don’t have many details but I will still keep you updated. Thank you for all you do for me. I love you guys so much. Until next week. Have a fantastic week!

Elder Ethan Haws

 We painted a house this week for service

Week 62

Hey guys! Another week.

Well, since we don’t have much time in the cyber I’ll summarize the best I can.

The week was good. We saw some great things. First off I’ll tell you about the progress in our work.

So this week we found many people, but the two that in our eyes are going to progress the most are a young man named Francisco, and a lady named Maria who owns a little shop.

So, one of the best families here is the Castillo family. The moms name is Rosa and she is super active in the church. Their son John Franco is 16 and their daughter Giovanna is in her early twenties. The husband, I can’t remember his name, is 46 years old. They are awesome and are always helping us out. This week John Franco brought one of his friends over. That friend was Francisco. A long time ago he was sharing with missionaries, but he never got baptized. He is 15 years old and very catholic. He doesn’t believe too much in the church but he has some strong beliefs in God and wants to find the true church of God. Sounds pretty great right? Since we can’t baptize youth under 16 without careful supervision and permission, we are coordinating well with President Arrington and we are going to have to take some extra time to get him baptized. But it will all be worth the good work. We hope that he continues to be receptive. We shared with him twice this week and both were good visits. We are excited to have a good investigator.

Yesterday, Sunday, we went out for the whole afternoon to go and work with one of the returned missionaries in the ward. His name is Nicolas, or Nico, for short. We killed it yesterday, we had 2 other lessons and 2 lessons with members finding 5 new investigators and getting all of our contacts. Two of those new investigators seemed really cool and we are excited to be working with them this week. Their names are Juana, and Alejandra. Good stuff is on the horizon.

We as missionaries here in Concepcion are having a good time. We are laughing and having a great time. There are plenty of inside jokes already and we are becoming good friends. This week I taught all of the other elders how to solve a rubik’s cube and we are close to writing a song for Christmas.

This week on Thursday on thanksgiving we had an awesome zone class. We had a special announcement and that was the new worldwide initiative of ‘’He is the Gift.’’ I hope that you guys have heard all about this but here are some links if you do not know what is going on.

We had a great presentation. And we are challenged to send this initiative to everyone!! We have tons of pass along cards and we are going to be giving our all to share those and the video that came out. I would like to invite all of you if you haven’t seen the new video that you can all see it. Day by day into this next and special month we can reflect more on the savior than ever before. He is the gift!!

 We have some awesome activities planned for this. We are going to be doing a public booth presentation as a zone; we will be doing a big Chapel presentation and putting posters up around the city. It’s going to be quite the time for us.

Alrighty guys, that’s about it for this week. I feel bad that I can’t get too much out there. But that’s all the time I’ve got. I love you all so much. I miss you tons especially in this wonderful season. Thank you for all that you do. Until next week.

Elder Ethan Haws