Monday, September 30, 2013

Temples and Transfers (Bayley)

I apologize for the alliteration.  It's awfully alarming and absolutely not acceptable.

So now that I have completed my 12 weeks of training, I am officially no longer a "new missionary," which is both awesome and not at all okay at the same time.  Have I seriously been out here 3 months already?  I know I've said it before but I'll say it again - missionary time is weird and out of whack.  There's a sister in the ward here who was baptized about a year ago, and she jokes that missionaries are really just Spirit-endorsed stalkers, which admittedly is true, but that's partially because of missionary time - we feel like we haven't seen our investigators in forever and need to go check on them when in reality we were just there that morning.  It's messed up.

Oh hey, so a neat story.

A few weeks ago, this sister shows up to our church building asking around about church and whatnot.  She gets in touch with us, wants to meet with us, and it turns out that she is a member of the church, and has been for years.  Apparently, she and her mother were baptized when they lived in Utah, and then they moved down to Lake Charles about 8 years ago, but for reasons still unclear thought that our congregation here was like an FLDS congregation, and so never went.  But then, for reasons also still unclear (though I'm putting money on some Spirit action here - except I'm not actually putting money down, of course) she decided to come to the church building and get in touch with the church, and now she and her mom are like the most awesome members ever, even though they hadn't been to church for 8 years until like two weeks ago.  How crazy is that?!


This past Wednesday I went to the temple!  The way it works here in our mission is that we have quarterly mission trips, so ideally 4 times a year.  We go by zone, and then since the Houston temple is out of our mission, pretty much we drive there, do a session, snap some pictures, and then hustle back into our mission before we can eat or anything.  But let me tell you - the Houston temple is GORGEOUS.  And let me tell you something else - if you guys can go to the temple...go, because seriously, only being allowed to go at a certain time and having to wait for forever in between, is a serious bummer.  But it was really a blessing to get to go.  Man, the temple.  I LOVE that place.

So tomorrow is transfers, and since Sister Barton is getting transferred the two of us will leave bright and early for Houston, and by tomorrow afternoon I'll have a new companion.  Transfers are weird, guys.  Elder Weeks, our district leader, and Elder Gilbert are getting transferred as well, which is going to be hard.  I really love my district, we're pretty much the greatest, and after tomorrow half of us will be gone.  But I get to stay here in Lake Charles, which is pretty super great.

Anyways, let's think of some other things to share about this past week.
1) It rained, to everyone's great surprise.
2) In teaching our investigator, Debra, about the Book of Mormon, we asked "would it be important to you if God gave us another testament - like the Old Testament and New Testament - more of His word?" to which she responded, quite loudly, "WELL DUH!"  
3) We went to Olive Garden no less than 4 million times.  Approximately.  People here love the Olive Garden. 
4) This really sweet special needs guy, Beau, who is neighbors with one of the less actives we work with, told us all about how he'd been sick, and had felt kind of like "how people feel in X-Men when Rogue drains them...or like how Invisible Girl feels after she makes a force field."  As he left, he said "bye guys - or, as Spock would say, *holds up the live-long-and-prosper hand signal which I'm sure has an actual name I just can't remember what it is* live long and prosper!"  Once he was gone, Sister Barton turned to me and said "I have no idea what he was talking about."  Hahaha.  So that was one of those special moments in which my wealth of superhero and Star Trek knowledge and trivia served it's purpose.
5) It rained again.

Welp, that's all for today folks.  I'll have to be on the lookout this next week for more exciting stories.  In the meantime:
1) Go to conference.  Live it up.
2) Read the Book of Mormon.  Life-changer.
3) Look at the mountains, just for me.  Soak em' up.
4) Make some pancakes.  Get some maple syrup.  Mail them to Lake Charles, Louisiana.
5) Please.
6) Okay not really.

Love you guys,

Sister Bayley Enright

Mary is this super sweet lady we are teaching who calls us "bright eyes" (me) and "angel" (sis barton).  Precious.

The Houston temple is kind of like a Disney fairy tale castle except even better.

My district is my favorite.

Orange zone!  Also the best zone.  We may or may not read D&C 4 saying "the field is orange all ready to harvest"...yup.

Panorama Burger House is my favorite burger place here.  Hands down.

This is a ukelele thingamajigger with a dead armadillo for it's back.  For reals.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fat week and Overachieve week (Rhys)

Hola mi familia, la mejor familia en todo el mundo.

So, I'll be here for another six weeks at least, we all got transfer calls this past week and I'll be here with Elders Stowell and Jack for at least one more transfer. Before I make it much further I want to thank Garry Glissmeyer for his email and I believe that I should have rephrased something that I said in my last email. I agree that numbers are not important and it's not the lack of baptisms that had me feeling a bit unsuccessful, but the difficulty of meeting with our investigators. We only have three for now, but it's become very hard to get together with them just to see how they're doing and get to hear from them. Thank you Mr. G again and also thanks for two other things in particular. Being the greatest College teacher I have ever had and for having what may be the greatest teacher name on the face of the planet. Don't go easy on Aislin. Any-hoo, speaking of investigators, one of our wards most recent converts who was baptized before I even got here is Andre. Andre is a big Italian with the deepest voice you have ever heard and has spent years going to other churches and investigating and even serving missions for other faiths. For the first few weeks while I was here, he was struggling a bit and we'd visit him whenever we could to answer questions and such, but mostly just to be there for him. Just a week ago, Andre got the calling of Ward Missionary and has been flying high ever since. Just proof of what Garry said about retention. We just helped him barely hold on to the church as long as he needed us, and once he could stand, he took off running. It was pretty awesome to see. The sad part of this is that we don't get to see him as often now as we used to, but we still visit with him and he does like to come teach with us when he can, so that's good.

Now, you're probably wondering what this has to do with "fat week and overachieve week." I will tell you. Absolutely nothing, I'm getting to that. For clarification, "fat week' was last week. I think it must have started on Wednesday, we started taking home lots and lots of food whenever we went to a members for dinner or a lesson and plus everyone was giving us candy. So, try as we might not to snack, I swear that Elder Stowell and I were popping candies about every five minutes and lunches would turn into hour long snack sessions to try and get rid of the extra food we'd acquired from members. By the end of the week we were feeling like pigs and it was a good thing that we decided earlier to fast for someone in our ward, 'cause we needed the break. hat is what Elder Stowell nicknamed "fat week." This coming week ought to rock and roll. One other thing about "fat week" first, it was tough to get real excited about the week when we only had six lessons scheduled for the whole week. Yeah, six. To top that off, one had to fall through part way into the week. We spent a lot of our miles driving around and visiting with less actives and keeping busy and even got a bit lucky when a member couple, the Olives, said that they didn't have anything else to do, so why not give them another lesson? That was a life saver. After a week with much less teaching than is desirable, we decided to step it up and on Sunday we did.

We have Member lessons here. We pass a sheet for the week on Sunday for people to sign up and have the missionaries come teach in their homes. It's a good opportunity for us to keep teaching and visit with members, and it brings the spirit into peoples homes as well as getting them involved in missionary work. Whenever we get the schedule passed around, we always encourage them to invite a non-member friend or less active to be with them for the lesson, the tough part is getting people to sign up. We usually will pass the sheet around the relief society and priesthood meetings along with the dinner calendar, but one of the things that can be tough about that is a husband or wife believing that the other knows their schedule better than they do and they'll sign up. This can be true in lots of cases and we usually get more sign ups from relief society than anywhere else. Even so, our lessons were dropping to fewer and fewer each week, so this is when we decided to try something that we should have thought of a lot sooner.

After Sacrament meeting, Elders Jack, Stowell, and I (meaning me, not an Elder I) went to the Gospel Doctrine class before it started and made sure with Sister Kunzler that we could have some time at the beginning of the class. Now, in a room with husbands and wives all together (mwahahahahahaha), Stowell and I stood at the front of the room and announced that we would be passing around the calendar and what it's for and what the member lessons are for and what purpose it serves. We also got help when Sister Deninio (the main culprit of all of the extra food and goodies that we end up taking home, good stuff) said that the lessons are amazing and she loves having us in her home whenever we come over. That is what I think really set it off. We left church with sixteen lessons on the calendar and we were whooping and high-fiving. During planning that night, we finished setting goals for the week and with better and better chances of getting to finally meet with at least one and possibly two of our investigators, things are looking busy. Which is a nice thing to see. That's when Stowell named it "overachieve week." Even though we shouldn't have to overachieve in order to be content, that's where we're hoping to go and we're all looking forward to all of the teaching that we'll be doing this week.

Oh, and one more thing that I believe I should mention is this guy called Brad. I've never actually met him, but Elder Stowell along with the missionaries that were here before I was, tracted into him and a rowdy group of his friends (his friends were drunk at the time). Despite the circumstance that was caused by his friends' loud comments about Mormons, he really enjoyed speaking with the missionaries even without any actual belief in a God or any religion really. Elder Stowell and more recently I, have been keeping up with him through text and he's always open to have a conversation over text. As I have been texting with him, we've been getting closer and closer to actually getting an opportunity to meet with him face to face and I can't wait. In the meantime, "overachieve week" is in motion.

Elder Rhys Enright

Fiestas Patrias! (Kegan)

Apologies for the killer small email last week but...I really have no excuse.  You should, however, be jealous that you're not celebrating the 18th of September here in Chile!  Or not, because this week wasn´t as spectacular as several unnamed ward members had promised.  I should first explain that the celebration that we attended (or the two hours of it that we attended) was spectacular.  Yet we were promised people in the streets almost shoving free food into our hands, or at least that´s what I understood several weeks ago when I couldn´t speak almost any Spanish, but I´m sure that´s exactly what they said.  Contrary to what I had imagined the week of the 18th being like, it was very quiet and very lacking in missionary lessons. ¨Why?" You might ask.  Because Chile is a very laid back country and it appears that to celebrate they do a little extra laying back for the week, at least in our sector.  Very few members, and even few non-members, seem to have wanted to spend their Fiestas Patrias in Gomez Carreño.  Meaning that for the week Elder Call and I have been spending most of our proselyting time trying to contact the few stragglers wandering from quiet and relaxed party to even more quiet and relaxed party.  Even though everyone says the same thing.  ¨Sure you guys can come by and teach my family the Plan of Salvation tom...PSYCH!! Not until next week!¨  One thing I can say I enjoyed about the week of Fiestas Patrias is that the lunches were certainly filled with more meat than usual.

Despite the celebrations, Elder Call and I have had a good time this week.  Before the celebrations even started we were able to have a Noche de Hogar with Marion and her family.  This meant THE TESTAMENTS.  It is bizarre how that movie works.  In truth the acting is not the best, to say the least, and the fake-stone-hat-props really look...pretty much just like that.  But it is all worth it for the end when Christ comes to the Americas because, if you´ve seen the movie you know, when Helam just starts bursting into tears the whole room practically follows suit and then everyone feels ready to have an awesome testimony meeting,  which is exactly what we did. Of course I should mention that Kohor totally makes the wait to the end worth it. 

Other highlights of the week include Elder Call being presented with a clump of toilet paper covered in, well, you know, by a two year old during lunch.  This caused the rest of the week to be filled with puns of which type I´m sure you are by now aware of.  Watching our Ward mission leader dance an awesome Cueca (The national dance of Chile) during the ward party.  Plus recently Elder Call and I have felt somewhat like a sort of dynamic duo as many people have now told him that he looks like Spiderman and I look like Superman, Elders Parker and Kent.

I have also noticed how much my English sentence structure has come crumbling down around me while I try to learn Spanish as I help other members learn English.  All in all I have really enjoyed this week and the awesome sunsets I get to see almost every day,  the ocean makes it that much better.  Of course from what I hear,  if something doesn´t happen soon sunsets will look mighty similar back home in Colorado.  Stay Safe!!

Elder Enright

Me, my trainer, Call, his trainer, Erekson, and his trainer´s trainer, Zegarra, who is also one of our zone leaders.

Sister Kahnlein, Elder Enright, President Kahnlein

Zone Conference

Shopping with Elder Call 


Empanada with chimichurri?  Just guessing here, he didn't actually say...

Monday, September 23, 2013

In which it rains, our credit card is stolen, and prayers are answered (Bayley)

Well hello there everybody!

My goodness, what a week.

Let's start with Thursday (because obviously that's pretty much the beginning of the week) (not really, missionary time is just weird and warped and you just can't keep track of anything).
Actually, it begins a few days before Thursday - when our gas card stopped working.  As missionaries in a mission car, we have a mission credit card in our car that is to be used exclusively for car-related expenses - gas, carwashes, etc.  Anyways, so earlier this week we go to fill up the car and the card keeps getting denied, which is not okay.  So we call Elder Tolman, who is our mission transportation...guy, and he tells us to borrow one of the elders' cards until he can figure it out.  We try and coordinate this with the elders, but it just doesn't work, so pretty much Thursday comes and we have no gas.  Actually I just realized that this whole story isn't about Thursday, it's about Friday.  I told you I can't keep track of anything anymore.

So Friday comes and we have like no gas in our car, and though we usually just go out on our bikes anyways so this wouldn't be a problem, on Friday it was POURING RAIN and since we already get nearly killed biking when you can actually see outside, we couldn't be biking.  Okay, so "nearly killed" is an exaggeration.  Mostly.  But biking would've been a bad idea.  So we start walking.  We've made it like four miles from our apartment, are pretty soaked, and doing our best to be really optimistic about the fact that our appointment is like another five or three hundred miles away (something like that) when Elder Tolman calls us back and asks us if we've been going on any shopping sprees recently, because apparently the reason our card hasn't been working is because someone went and spent like $700 and overspent the card.  We assured him that no, we're good missionaries and hadn't been going on any shopping sprees (and seriously - if I was going to be a disobedient missionary, I wouldn't have been a stupid one who would use the mission card for my apostate activities) and so he said that he thinks our card info has been stolen and he needs us quickly to give him a list of all our expenses and everything so that he can get this taken care of.  Except that information would be on our driving log, which was in the car, which was approximately seven hundred miles away at the apartment.  We told him this, and he told us that we needed to turn around then and get it back to him as soon as we could.  So we turned around, and the rain starts to pick up super bad and all these cars are honking at us and splashing us and so we decided to take this side road back, you know, so we don't die.  Except we forgot that in the rain we are blind, and the streets here are weird, and before we knew it we were completely lost in a mini hurricane.  Okay, so more like a mini-mini hurricane, but yeah.  That happened.  But we finally made it home, called Elder Tolman back, and then just had to endure other missionaries making jokes about us using the mission card to spend $700.  I know, hilarious.


In other news, I walked into a pole the other day - while leaving a members home, with the whole member family at the door telling us to be safe.  So that was grand.  Nothing quite like assuring people that you will be safe only to walk head on into a giant pole.  I like maintaining a reputation of elegance and class.
Oh, also, funny story. Missionary lingo is a bit odd - for instance, your trainer is your "mom" or "dad," and when your mission is over you're "dead."  So the other day we are sitting with the elders talking about birthdays, and Sister Barton says that her mom's birthday is soon (referring to her mission mom) and Elder Weeks says that his dad's is soon too (referring to his actual dad) and Sister Barton goes "but your daddy's dead" (since Elder Weeks's trainer went home last transfer).  Elder Weeks just sort of stares at her and says "what? No he's not!" and Sister Barton is like "um, yeah he is" and meanwhile me and the other elders are just sitting there wondering if Sister Barton is being really callous, and if we should intervene.  But then they managed to clear things up.  All this talk of being born and moms and dads and dying....Missionaries are weird.

Okay, now for a really incredible spiritual experience.

We have this investigator, Casundra (pronounced "Cassandra") who when we first met her told us that she doesn't believe that God loves her, that even if He's there (which she wasn't too sure about anyways) He wasn't there for her because she'd fallen too many times.  Anyways, so we taught her first about prayer, and about God, and also about the Book of Mormon, promising her that this book would help her feel God's love.  So anyways, we went to see her on Saturday, and she wanted us to read from the Book of Mormon with her because it's hard for her to understand.  So we read with her and taught her some, and then asked the young woman who had come with us, Eva, to bear her testimony about the Book of Mormon.  After she was finished, Casundra asked if she could say something.  She then told us that though she has only read a little bit of the book, it has helped her realize that God really loves His children, that he cares about us, and that He will help pick her up.  She then just sat there staring at the Book of Mormon in her hands, and said softly, "this is a good book."  The Spirit there was so strong.  Eva started crying, and I just sat there grinning like an idiot because it was just so incredible - to hear Casundra talk about how much her life has changed.  It was amazing.  And then afterwards we asked her to say the prayer, and after she'd finished a really beautiful prayer, she said "y'all know that I hadn't ever prayed till I met y'all - not since like I was a little girl.  But now prayer is so important to me."  It was just amazing.  When things like that happen, you just realize how TRUE this all this - how true it is that God is our Father, that He hears and answers our prayers, that He loves us, and that the Book of Mormon is true.  And you also realize how powerful the Atonement is, and the power it has to change lives.

And THAT is why I love being a missionary.  That's why it doesn't matter that I walked forever in a mini-mini hurricane, or that all those appointments fell through, or that our card was stolen.  Because it is all tens times worth it - probably even more - to hear someone pray to their Father and realize He's there.
I love you all!  I hope you're all safe in the Colorado floods, and know that I pray for you all each day.

Sister Enright

Monday, September 16, 2013

Still No Dunking!!!! (Rhys)

(FYI, dunking is slang in the Salt Lake South mission, and possibly others, for baptism. I may not be in the SLS mission, but I use it anyway)

As you can interpret by now, I still haven't been able to baptize anyone yet, which is kind of annoying. It only became really annoying when I opened up my email and saw that Kegan had one in Chile and I may have called him a few names that only my companion next to me (Elder Jack) heard. Obviously, a mission is about way more than baptisms, but it really couldn't hurt. 

We still haven't been able to get our investigators progressing - One's in Canada doing job training for a while, one constantly cancels on us, and the other seems to have dropped off the face of the earth. It also doesn't help that seemingly despite our best efforts, no one really wants to be a new investigator just yet. All in all, I'm not sure why I've been in such a good mood the past few days or why I am in one today. As far as stats go, those are definitely not the reason.  And while Bit-O-Honeys (Bits-O-Honey? Bits-O-Honeys?) are definitely a factor, I'm not sure it could come close to being an entire reason, non-chocolate candy can only take you so far. When it comes down to it, I can only think that it's from being a missionary regardless of stats. 

Being a missionary is awesome, people seem to be way more honest with you than they would normally be. An example of which may be when at the grocery store/library/wherever, people are either very polite and smile back (if you're lucky you get a wave and verbal response too) or they won't even look you in the eye. People seem to act either really polite or really impolite towards you when you have a badge on that says Elder ______, La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias (pardon the lack of appropriate accents, this is an English key board and seems to insist that it will stay that way). 

May I ask just what is flooding and where and how bad it is. I got a call the other day from one of our recent converts who wanted to know where I was from and after I replied with, "Colorado" and a beautiful medley of America the Beautiful and The Star Spangled Banner sung in several different keys. This man whom I love dearly and is awesome (and has a super deep voice so that he sounds like Sylvester Stallone) proceeds to tell me that there is disastrous flooding going on and that several people are still missing and four bodies have been found. After which he tells me that he just thought I should know and I reply with a kind of "yeah, okay. . .thanks," and he hangs up. I should have said,"I ONLY GET THE CHANCE ONCE A WEEK TO TALK TO MY FAMILY AND ALL YOU TELL ME IS THAT PEOPLE ARE GOING MISSING AND DYING?" Something along those lines. So what exactly is happening? I've heard a little more recently than the phone call that the flooding is happening in Boulder, but I honestly have no idea, so any word would be more than welcome. Especially if it's not about more people drowning.

Elder Rhys Enright

Baptism! (Kegan)

I´ll give you three guesses as to what happened this Sunday..... No, I haven´t figured out how to fly yet, but this Sunday I was able to baptize Marion Monteciño!  Marion is the young woman whose mother contacted US and who told us she knew she needed to be baptized.  But more on that later  

This week has been hard and awesome.  Just last monday night we had an awesome family lesson with the Guillens who it has been hard to get a lesson with.  It was so good in fact that Elder Call and I had to run like mad to get home 12 seconds before curfew.  Wednesday was Zone Conference.  During which our mission President, his wife, his assistants, the Hermana leaders for the zone, and our Zone Leaders present discussions to us as a zone and we talk about progress and eat pizza.  

Anywho, in order for Marion to get baptised we needed her to get interviewed and probably finish up teaching her on one, maybe two, and possibly three subjects.  The thing was that she really wanted to be baptised this past Sunday so we finished up her teachings Thursday, about 15 minutes before her interview. Needless to say she passed.  

Sunday was tough because Elder Call and I were running back and forth talking to her family and friends who were attending and checking on the font.  After the three hours all was well and we were able to get pictures with her and her mother and I was able to Baptize her in Spanish no less!  It was also really funny to see how chivalrous some young men in the ward became that day. It was a really awesome experience and we have a family home evening with her family and friends tonight because we grope like mad for teaching opportunities down here but also because her family is super, super friendly.

Elder Kegan Enright

Miracles and Cupcakes (Bayley)

So if there is one thing I've learned on my mission, it is this:
You plan, and prepare, and then confirm plans, and re-plan...and then people's agency just disrupts those plans and dashes them into a million pieces.  But good planning means that you are prepared for that, for the unplanned, and that you take advantage of it.  This week we had several days in which every single appointment we had set, every single lesson we had prepared and practiced for, fell through.  And let me tell you - that can be hard.  BUT, if you're doing your job right, and are trusting in God, and are studying hard to be prepared for anything, then the Spirit will guide you right where you need to be that day.

Earlier this week we had an incredible lesson with our investigator, Debra.  We've been really struggling to teach her, simply because it's all but impossible to teach more than a single point in a lesson with her (all my mission prep taught me to ask questions and get investigators to talk, and so I wasn't quite prepared for our main challenge out here to be getting an investigator to be quiet and let us get a word in) but we finally went in headstrong determined to teach her about baptism and the importance of the priesthood.  And after we're done teaching her, she tells us that she's been baptized (Methodist) and that it felt right, but how can she know if it was by the right authority, and that if it wasn't she wants to know, because she wants to be baptized the right way.  Hip hip, hooray!  

Another story.
During Hour of Power this week, we were walking down the street we had prayerfully chosen, and there was this young man sitting outside in his garage.  We went up to him and starting talking to him and then ending up teaching him all about prayer.  He said we made him think a lot, and thanks for coming, but he that he couldn't really set a firm return appointment because he was really busy.  We told him we'd be back Sunday (even though he said he didn't know if he'd be there - we have no problem being obnoxious like that) and yesterday we went back and it was incredible - he told us all about how he has changed since we last talked, about how he cannot stop thinking about what we shared with him, and how before he met us his days just seemed to blend together but that in hearing our message, everything has become clearer.  We taught him again, and he told us to come back often and that he is pretty much always home.  It was so clear to us that the Spirit had really worked within him between our visits.  That's pretty incredible.  That's one of those moments where you go and say a prayer of thanks.  Also known as pretty much every moment on your mission ever.

We also had an investigator come to church with us yesterday!  It is so hard to get investigators to come to church here, so it was kind of a big deal.  This investigator's name is Mary, and we actually met her during like my second hour of power here, and her husband told us we were some horrible cult and cried over our damned souls, and then weeks later Mary called us because her husband had had a stroke and she needed help.  And we've been teaching her ever since.  Since we first found her, she fell and broke her hip and now lives in this little nursing/rehab home until she can walk again.  Did I mention this little nursing home is conveniently located just one block away from the church?  So when we went over Saturday night, we asked if she wanted to come to church with us and she said yes, so Sunday morning us and the Elders went and had a pushing-wheelchair-party, since there's a less active man in the ward who also lives in the nursing home who has to have someone push him to church - so we pushed Mary, and the Elders pushed Brother Patterson, and I'm sure it was quite the merry sight.

I love Mary though. She is reading the Book of Mormon a lot and really loves it.  Also, she told us a funny story the other day.  We were sitting in her room and she needed the trashcan, which is on the other side of her room.  We made some comment about how odd it was for the trashcan to be so far from her bed (since she's pretty much bedridden with her broken hip) and she said yes, that actually she had asked the nurses about that when she had first gotten there, and that she has asked for the trashcan to be moved closer but that the nurse had told her that it wasn't allowed to have trashcans by the bed.  When Mary asked why, the nurse told her that one time an old lady had needed to throw up in the trashcan by her bed, but that in doing so she had fallen out of bed and gotten her head stuck in the trash can.  Yup.  What was so funny was that Mary was laughing so hard while telling us this story, and then Sister Barton and I were laughing super hard, and then when we told Elder Weeks about it later he just sort of blinked and said "well, I guess you had to be there," which isn't true - because let's be honest, an old lady getting her head stuck in a trashcan...that's pretty funny.

Also, on a completely different note, last Monday was Sister Barton's birthday, which means all week we have lived off of nothing but cake and cupcakes.  Seriously.  Sister Barton got cupcakes from home...then we made cupcakes...then we got cake *and* cupcakes from a member....The Elders, myself, and a sister in the ward coordinated a surprise birthday party for her last p-day, and let me tell you - it's kind of hard to plan a surprise party for a person who is never supposed to leave your sight and sound.  But it was accomplished, and we emerged with a cake and a dozen cupcakes.  So a successful party.  This week we shall try to expand our diet to include ice cream as well.

Love you all!  Next week we have a temple trip, and I am so excited to be able to go to temple - it feels like approximately forever since I went there, and it will be my first time going to the Houston Temple, which makes it double exciting since the Houston Temple kind of looks like a Disney castle.


Sister Enright

Awesome Louisiana marshland.  Duh.
Further proof that Louisiana is the prettiest.  Other than Colorado, of course.
The lake charles bridge!  It's super cool.  Pretty much.
My awesome district - they are seriously my favorite.  Elder Roundy, Gilbert, Sister me, Barton, Elder Brewer, Weeks
Also, you get bugbites here.  A LOT OF THEM.  And then you feel like your foot is on fire and you want to cut it off, but instead you take pictures and try and earn some sympathy letters.
Also, the tiniest cutest little baby frog ever.  He jumped off my hand and we stood around him for a long time worried he was dead, but then he wasn't.  Phew.

Sister and Barton and I.  Twice.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Duathlon and Knocking on Doors (Rhys)

Yesterday our stake (Tule Springs Stake) held a fun run early in the morning with the following activities: a 25 mile bike ride, a duathlon (12.5 miles on a bike and a 5K run) and just the 5K run.  Elders Campbell, Patterson and I all wanted to do the duathlon and planned on it a few days in advance.  Elder Stowell and another Elder were going to do the bike ride only.  The night before, seven of us (those who wanted to participate and their companions who didn't) all slept at Campbell's and Nelson's place for the night.  We woke up at 5:00 and loaded bikes on the bike rack of Elders Patterson's and Long's car.  The 25 mile bike ride would start and and duathloners would turn around part way and start the run when they got back. This stake is a crazy biking stake.  When we got to the starting of the race, we felt out of place because everyone had biking outfits and nice racing bikes.  It was weird.  Patterson, Campbell and I started the ride and Patterson and I immediately fell behind.  (I'll explain.  During the week leading up to the race, I was fixing a bike.  I don't have my own, and so I borrowed an unused one without brakes or a seat. I fixed it up before the race but couldn't get it to stop squeaking.  During the race, I could tell something was off.  I was pushing for every inch and squeaking like crazy the whole way.  I didn't have the tools to fix it during the race,but my brakes were rubbing the whole way.  Something I had fixed the day before, or thought I did.  So it was tough going on the bike, but I made it.)  When we reached the turnaround we didn't see any sign of Campbell and so just headed back.  The 5K was tough at first, after riding, running felt very slow.  But we made it and got lots of water and chocolate milk.  Turned out that Campbell missed the turnaround and did the whole 25 plus some extra!

A cool story now.  A few days ago, we really had nothing scheduled (which was depressing), so we were knocking on the doors of new or less-active members.  The Smiths, a new family in our ward, weren't home when we knocked on their door, but a relative of theirs was and she said that she'd been meaning to get a hold of missionaries because she's interested in the church.  The entire time we talked to her, and filled out and gave her a pass-along card (which I had brought on a whim and my companions forgot--Spirit!)I was this close (I'm putting my thumb and index finger very close together with only a tiny gap between)to spazzing out and cheering.  This was the first time something like that actually happened to me and I couldn't help but whoop as we walked away (the door had already been closed,and we were walking down the driveway, it's fine). Elders Stowell and Jack thought it was funny though, as a new elder I just thought it was a cool experience. I hope to hear from her soon.  Proof that God prepares people for you to teach and he knows when they are ready.

Elder Rhys Enright

Pictures of Elders Stowell and Enright playing with camera effects

Monday, September 9, 2013

Mission Time is not Normal (Kegan)

Mission time is not normal.  It literally seems like yesterday I was sitting in this same internet cafe emailing you guys, but at the same time everyday feels so long, that is if you plan it right.
Another thing that is different on the mission is the endurance of a backpack.  I have had to sew two patches and duct tape the the holyness (pun certainly intended) out of a backpack that has lasted me a good couple years of some rough use and I swear I´ve been treating that thing like it is made of china recently.  

With or without a degenerating backpack this week has been great, super and oddly fast, but great.  We have intercambios every week and this week I was able to go into the other Elders area and be thankful for the fewer number of dogs in my area and for their temperance, even though I doubt that exists.  

Out here in the field we are trying super hard to get the members more and more involved in the work because it really does work better that way.  One of the opportunities I had this week to see this work was on Saturday when Mauricio, one of the coolest guys ever and a recent convert, was having his body combat class in the cultural hall.  Mauricio is a black belt and so has these body combat classes that are somewhere between yoga and Footloose-style punch dancing on Wednesday and Saturday nights.  Recently Elder Call and I have been working hard to get members to come and bring friends and this time it worked!  It was really awesome to see members, investigators, member's friends, and inactive members begin to regret coming as they realized how insane Mauricio can be.  That´s when you can invite them to Church that week because there isn´t too much exercise involved in sacrament meeting, depending on your calling, and it sounds so good to them at that point.  

This Sunday we actually had more people show up to church than we have had any of my other Sundays here.  Of course in some cases, because of the hour change, those people were super late,  but still the chapel was closer to full than I´ve yet seen it.  Recent converts are always a blessing.  The hour change didn't only effect the rest of our ward though.  I had completely forgotten, so when Elder Call got up at what my clock said was like 6 o´clock I thought the guy was nuts and didn´t work too hard to get ready for church because I thought I was up an hour early.  Not so.  

We do a lot of walking here in Chile too so I will either come home much skinnier or with ripped legs from carrying around the extra weight some the sisters seem bound to give me here.  But until then I love you all and can tell you guys are all praying for me.

Love Elder Kegan Enright

"Pray for me - REBUKE SATAN in the name of Jesus Christ!!!!!" (Bayley)

*subject line actual excerpt from a text the elders received from an investigator in the middle of church yesterday, except actual text included more exclamation points*  We have the greatest investigators in Louisiana.

Hello everyone!  My goodness, it's September 9, and people here are starting to put out their pumpkin and scarecrow decorations and it's just confusing because those particular lawn ornaments belong in fall, and it certainly doesn't feel like fall here.

But anyways, do I have a good crazy story for you.
*clears throat*
So we have this investigator, Debra, who is this really wonderful lady who just lost her grown daughter several months ago, and so has been really struggling with that loss.  After one of our first lessons with her, Sister Barton and I really felt impressed to invite Sister Lundquist to come with us to help fellowship Debra. Sister Lundquist is this really awesome sister in the ward who also lost a grown child, several years ago.  So we called Sister Lundquist and she said she'd love to come with us the next day to see Debra.  That day, as we're driving to Debra, Sister Lundquist told us that the previous day she'd had a friend call and ask if she wanted to go spend the weekend at the beach with her.  Though Sister Lundquist wanted to (I mean duh it's the beach) she really felt like she shouldn't go, and so told her friend she couldn't.  Not long after that, we called and asked her to come with us to an appointment with Debra the next day.  So that was pretty neat. Fast forward - the lesson with Debra and Sister Lundquist went really well, the two of them just really connected as mothers who've lost children, and a few nights after that Sister Barton and I stopped by Debra's without Sister Lundquist.  Debra tells us that she wants us to bring Sister Lundquist back, and for Sister Lundquist to bring about 6 pictures of just people, one of which is the son she lost, but not to tell Debra which one is actually her son.  Debra said that she had had a dream two weeks before and had seen this young man in her dream, and his face has stuck with her and she's been trying to figure out who he was, and then after she met Sister Lundquist, she knew that the man she had seen was Sister Lundquist's son who had died.  So Sister Lundquist was supposed to bring these pictures, and Debra would be able to recognize which one was Sister Lundquist's son because she'd seen him in a dream.  So just the other night we all were back at Debra's and Sister Lundquist handed over the pictures and it took Debra no time to flip through them and select one picture, and name the man in it as Sister Lundquist's son - and she was right.  


So yeah.  That happened.

Another story!

This last week we were teaching this less active family we have here in the ward, the Moores, who I absolutely love.  They have three girls, the youngest of which is 7.  We have been reading Book of Mormon stories with them, and they really are all completely new to the youngest girl.  So this last week we were reading 1 Nephi 8, Lehi's dream, with them, and at the end we asked them what they thought the fruit could be representing - specifically, we asked what this fruit could be that brought Lehi such joy?  Sydney, the little girl, starts listing off the kinds of fruit it must be, and Sister Moore was like "no, no Sydney, it's not actually a fruit."  Sydney gets this confused look in her eyes, and suddenly her eyes get really wide and she jumps up and exclaims, "IT'S CHOCOLATE!"  After she said that, her older sister, who's twelve, said "if it was chocolate he wouldn't want to share it with everyone."  Hahaha.  That's my new favorite interpretation of the Tree of Life.

Here in THE mission (never gets old) we have our good ol' 3-3-3 standard - 3 member present lessons, 3 new investigators, and 3 progressing investigators a week.  Well last night (and Sunday is the last day of the week) Sister Barton and I only had 2 new investigators and were trying to figure out how we were supposed to find that 3rd since Sundays are pretty booked days, and our evening (prime finding time) would be taken up by a dinner appointment that was like 30 minutes away.  But we prayed about it, and just both gained confirmation that we would find that investigator, and to just trust Heavenly Father and go about doing what we were supposed to be doing.  So the day went by and off we went to our dinner appointment without our new investigator, and at this point I was honestly wondering how we were going to get our new investigator (since dinner was later, and when we would get home we had time for the one appointment we had scheduled before going in for the night) and if maybe one was going to fall from the sky or if we were going to hit one with the car (which would have other complications) but I knew I just needed to trust Heavenly Father, and we went into the dinner appointment and the family (this super awesome family in the ward, the Howells) had invited two non-member friends over.  After dinner we were sharing a message that was really just some of lesson 1 disguised as a message (missionary work is sneaky sometimes) and Sister Barton asked if there was anything we could do, and Brother Howell raises his hand and says "yeah, I have a question."  Then he looks at their friends and goes "do you guys want to take the discussions."  And they did! Oh, and we set up a next appointment, teaching them at the Howells, and Brother Howell even said he'd make funnel cakes next time.  Bonus.  But the important part investigators!  Ah, another Festivus miracle!  Moral of the story: we have got to just trust God.  He never lets us down.

I love you all!  Thank you for your prayers and support, and for feeding the missionaries wherever you are, because I've come to the conclusion that how much I get fed here on any given week is directly related to how much the missionaries are being fed in good ol' Colorado, so keep it up! :P

Sister Enright

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Late! (Rhys)

As you know, this past Monday was Labor Day, resulting in all Libraries closed and computers therein unusable for a day. I don't think I've ever hated Labor Day even close to as much as I did yesterday. Luckily, we were able to put time aside for today, when we would be able to email late. I hope Ronan had an awesome birthday and that he is basking in his presents and leftovers. I printed up your emails again so I'll be able to read them later, so I won't be able to respond to them yet. I do have some good stories though. Just this last Saturday, my zone planned on getting together at Yogurtland (where missionaries get half priiiice!) because we have a sister in our Zone who has to go back home to get a surgery done and then hopefully come back sometime later. Because of this we've been trying to do get-togethers of a sort during the week before she leaves. In fact, we're going back to Yogurtland tonight for the last one before she leaves tomorrow because our Saturday trip was unsuccessful, which I will explain. My companions and I went to dinner at Smashburger (super good) thanks to a member who was going to feed us but had to cancel last minute and made up by giving us a gift card. After dinner and before Yogurtland, we decided to pick up a few things we'd need from Walmart with the extra time we had and on our way out, saw some Elders (including our ZLs) from our Zone walking out of Yogurtland (they wouldn't be able to make the later time and went early) and they were approached by a woman. They continued to talk to her as Elders Stowell and Jack and I headed off. 

Fast forward a few hours to us heading over to Yogurtland ready to get frozen yogurt and Looney Toons spoons. We get a text from the ZLs that said "good luck" and we though it was about how crowded Yogurtland was, apparently not. The same lady that had approached the Elders before was sitting in front of Yogurtland. . . waiting for us. It turns out that she really needed help paying rent and needed a way to get back to her apartment, but she knew that we would be unable to give her a ride and the Elders from earlier told her we'd be coming. We helped her in what way we could and she wondered where we met for church. Elder Stowell gave her directions and a time for when we met and she said she had a Book of Mormon with her from the other missionaries and whipped it out. Elder Stowell testified of the book just as this old, slightly deranged looking man walked out of Yogurtland. He walked by us and said "teaching this poor woman a bunch of lies?" not sure if he was joking, I just told him that she had been needing help and we were trying to do what we could. He responded that "she doesn't need your help, you're just spreading a bunch of lies." He then proceeded to tell us why what we believe is wrong before heading to his car. A little bit surprised, but unabashed, The woman continued talking to us and we continued to talk to her about the church. Then the guy comes back from his car with a small pamphlet in his hand and pushes it into the lady's hands and tells her that if she wants to find the real church, she should go here. Then, this guy was attacking the Book of Mormon, saying that Joseph Smith wrote it all himself and that because of that Joseph Smith is burning in Hell. He would recite scriptures at us and if we agreed with him and told him, "that's exactly what we believe," he replied, "no it's not, what Jesus do you believe in?" Stowell handled it pretty well, it really ticked him and I off when he tried to tell us what we believe and insist he was right, but we kept cool and tried to cut the conversation short. Especially when he announced that he wanted to bash with us all day. 

Thankfully the sisters got there and put a short end to it, he didn't want to mess with them. but when Sister Monson told him to have a nice night, he replied "you have a nice night too spreading your stupid lies!" People can be so wonderful sometimes. We ended up going to Baskin Robbins instead 'cause the guy hung around. Haven't heard back from the lady since.

 I have to go now, I can include the other story in a letter I need to send, I hope that you guys are having fun and doing well in school. Continue (con - tin - you - eh) a estudiar la idioma de Espanol para que poderiamos hablar juntos en espanol.

Elder Rhys Enright

Hufflepuffs are particularly good finders (Bayley)

A story relating to the subject line.
So there are several stages of missionary work.  The first is finding - you have to find people to teach.  This finding is done by tracting, street contacting, referrals from others, etc. Anyways, so recently we heard from our zone leaders about how we are doing as a zone, and one of the zone leaders commented that we, as a zone, "are very good finders."

And I looked high and low for someone with whom I could share this Harry Potter musical reference, but there was none to be found.  But now that I've shared it, I'll just pretend I made eye contact and high fives with you for getting that reference, and we can laugh about it together.  Unless you didn't get it.  Then this is awkward.

But anyways.

So though we, as a zone, are particularly good finders, I, apparently, am really very. Quite. Good....At losing investigators.

Not like them dropping us or whatever...just literally losing them.

The other day Sister Barton and I went to check up on some investigators who we hadn't seen in a little while (owing to the fact that they may or may not have flaked out on not one but two appointments in a row) and to our surprise the house was completely empty and a bunch of their stuff was piled up in front of their house with the trash.  So yeah.  That was unexpected.  And we don't have any way of getting back in touch with them and so yeah.

But hey!  This past week we had this incredible experience in we were walking down the street and a car passed us, turned around, and pulled up next to us.  There were two guys inside, and they asked if we were from a church, and when we said that yes, we were, they asked what church and if they could have more information.  We gave them each a Restoration pamphlet with our numbers and took down their addresses and phone numbers assuring them that we would come and visit, and then like an hour later one of the guys called us and asked if we could come over - and people calling *you* back and tracking *you* down, as a missionary, is really quite wonderful because it's usually the other way around.  So of course we said yes and went over and taught him and at the end of the lesson - and it had gone really well - he told us all about how he'd thought a lot about how there should be a prophet on the earth today, after all it's what the Bible says and "it only makes sense" and then he asked about the Book of Mormon and if he could have one.  And THEN just after we got out of our lesson with him, his friend called us and asked if we could come and teach him, and let me tell you - having one person call you wanting you to come teach them is pretty spectacular. Having two in one day is just a miracle.  So of course we went over and taught this other guy and we shared the whole Joseph Smith story with him (in our mission, we memorize verses 10-17 of Joseph Smith History and then recite that in our lessons) and the Spirit was just so incredibly strong and he thanked us over and over again for the lesson and said he'd learned so much.

So pretty much the moral of the story is this: God is incredible.  He sends us blessings and miracles each day, and as long as we are doing the best we can, and working our hardest, and praying to always be where God wants us to be and doing what He wants us to do (not what we want to do) we'll just be stumbling over the miracles in our path.

In other news, the other night we were over at a member's house for dinner and their little girl was playing with Play-Dough, and when it came time for dinner and she had to put her Play-Dough away, she just sort of haphazardly put it in containers without lids or in ziplocs without ziploc-ing the bags, and so I made some comment about how her Play-Dough was going to dry out.  At that moment, pretty much everybody in the room turned and looked at me with perplexed expressions.  "Oh," I said, "does your Play-Dough not dry out here?"  That was when they started laughing, and then I was told that maybe if they left it out and blow-dried it, maybe it would dry up.  So yeah.  That brings the total of my-awkward-making-myself-look-like-an-idiot moments out here up to approximately 682.  And also, Play-Dough doesn't dry out here!  Witchcraft.

Another story.  The other day we were out tracting, and usually when we tract, those people who actually open their door are genuinely sweet and nice and tell us that we are doing great work and "everybody needs some Jesus-love" even if they aren't interested at all in what we have to say.  But the other day this lady opened the door and we smiled and told her all about how we are missionaries and she says back all snappishly "Well I'm Catholic, do you wanna know what my church believes?" and Sister Barton and I looked at each other and then said "sure!"  The woman obviously wasn't expecting this, and she kind of stood there, taken aback, and then said "NO" and shut the door on us.  Missionary rule #1: you may feel uncomfortable and awkward a lot (that is, most of the time) but just know that usually you're making others feel awkward too - with your enthusiasm about biking on a hot Louisiana summer day, if nothing else - so there's no harm done.

This past week, a member of our ward told me something that really hit me hard.  He said that you can tell how converted you are by how committed you are to sharing the gospel.  And it's true.  As I read the Book of Mormon, I've noticed that that is spot on - what is it that Lehi wanted after he'd partaken of the fruit of the Tree of Life?  He wanted to share it with his family.  And what was it Alma the Younger wanted as soon as he woke up and changed his ways?  He wanted to go and share the gospel with others.  If we are truly converted to the Lord, then what is holding us back from shouting it from the rooftops (other than social norms, that is)?  So there's some food for thought.  Sometimes people say things that are just really deep.

Anyways, I love you all.  Thank you so much for all your prayers for all the missionaries - because trust me, we need them all.


Sister Bayley Enright

Superman! (Kegan)

Hola, Mom, Dad, Erin (I don´t have her email but I presume she spends all of her free time reading my blog entries, plus please send her email with your response)...Bayley, Rhys, Amik, Aislin, Noah, Ronan, Liam, and Fionnula.  This week may have been the most interesting week so far.  A few things I left out when describing the mission.  First our entire schedule is a half hour behind the normal schedule because we need to be up later to catch some people because people in Chile don´t really like to get up early. Second, public drunkenness seems to be ok here in most cases (that comes up later).  Third, this isn´t about Chile, but I found a new Old Spice scent: COLORADO!!  So every morning I can spray myself with the scent of home. I was ridiculously excited about it. It´s funny you guys should mention Lex Luther who is connected to Superman because we had a baptism this past Friday (The Superman thing comes later).  Anyways the Hermanas in our area had an investigator get baptised last friday, Alex.  It was awesome and I have to say I was jealous of the Hermanas because we also have investigators who are ready to be baptised, Brian and his brother Diego.  While we were waiting for Alex to return to the chapel after being baptised I was sitting alone while Elder Call played the piano and a young man sat down next to me and said ¨You know you look like Spuperman, but blonde.¨ (Of course he said it in Spanish).  So after that awesome vanity boost we talked during the Mormom Messages.  His name is Augustine and he is probably moving up to the States in California to live with his grandma soon.  We were talking about the young men in his ward too because he says he has around seven in his ward which made me pretty jealous because I only have like four in mine, but oh well.  

Another interesting story happened Saturday when I was in interchanges with Elder Yorgason.  That night we went out with the Ward mission leader of Elder Yorgason´s ward,  His name is Enzo and he is 18 years old and an awesome mission leader.  Like I said public drunkenness isn´t exactly rare here.  We talked with three very drunk men that Saturday.  The third of which was the drunkest man I have ever seen and insisted on following us around and talking with all three of us for half an hour.  About halfway through this half hour he started asking me questions, the most of which I couldn´t understand because I´m new and his speech was super slurred.  But at one point he asked me something and I could instantly see Yorgason and Enzo rapidly shaking their heads behind his back so I did the same.  But he must not have been paying attention because he instantly gave me a big hug and a big kiss right on my cheek.  Elder Yorgason and Enzo were almost falling over for laughing so hard. So yes, I was kissed by a man on my third interchange.

Elder Kegan Enright

TMNT Cup (Rhys)

Rhys took a plastic TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) cup with him on his mission.  Somehow it became a deal between he and Aislin that he would photograph himself with said cup every day of his mission.  He has missed a few days, but we have nonetheless received many,many pics of him with his cup. A sampling: