Monday, November 25, 2013

Bautismo 4!!! (Rhys)

Hola mis Padres, Hermanos, Hermanas, Amigos, Maestros, and whatever other category you feel like you fall under and is not mentioned above. First off, quite literally while I am typing this I am trying to get pictures on here as well and if I end up sending this without pictures then. . . . I have no clue. Okay, I´m going to stop trying to jam the USB into the computer and wait to add pictures until the end because I´m just going to have to. But now I'm going to tell you how my week was. First off, we had district meeting this Tuesday, meaning that we all plowed through mud and little tiny rivers in the streets to get to our building to meet, which isn´t even in our area, but whatever. After the district meeting, we did splits with the other Elders in our pension and I was the Senior companion in our area with Elder Mudrovich, and Elder Slangerup went with Elder Batt to their area. Despite the rain and the mud and people thinking that we were crazy, talking to them over the thunder and rain from their gates and sometimes in their homes, we came away with some new investigators and lots of lessons. My favorite part being when we were booking it home and I was wearing my awesome army surplus raincoat with the collar up to protect my white shirt. I´m sure I didn´t look nearly as cool as I felt (especially with the lack of hair), but it did remind me of a part in Wilem DaFoe´s character´s movie in Mr. Bean´s Holiday and that made me laugh when we got back. And if any of that made sense to you, congratulations. 

The next day was more splits, this time with the Zone leaders and I went to their area. Not as scary as it sounds. The zone leader I went with, Elder Bowhill is from Uruguay and has 3 months left in the mission and tries his best not to be trunky afúl. But really, we got a lot of work done that day, my favorite lesson was with some less actives and the man (had to be in his late 60s, early 70s) tells elder Bowhill and I that he only drinks wine a little bit every day and that he was still drinking when he was baptized in March, so it's okay, right? So kind of like Bayley in Louisiana, we had to come down with the Word of Wisdom pretty hard and when we left he was looking really sad at the prospect of no more wine, but I know Elder Bowhill´s going to keep up with him.

The rest of the week up until this Saturday was a bit of a blur, I don´t remember much other than walking and visiting Alexis every day to make sure that we´d see him on Saturday and making sure that everything was ready for the baptism. One interesting update that occurred over the week is my nickname. In the zone, people call me Juan el Bautisto a lot due to the baptisms that Elder Slangerup and I have gotten this first month as a companionship. Which I feel is a little unfair to Elder Slangerup. I honestly haven´t a clue why these people want me to be the one to baptize them, unless they just think it´s funny that I can´t exactly speak Spanish yet and want to see if I´ll mess up the Baptism. If that´s what they were hoping for, then they were let down, because I am not going to mess that baby up in front of everyone in the Baptismal font. But seriously, I really feel like these are Elder Slangerup´s investigators that are randomly choosing me to baptize them, but they´re all awesome and I´m just grateful for the chance I´ve had to teach them, even if I´m not sure half the time what I ended up saying.

Sister Wardell and Elder Stowell!! I´m super glad to hear from you guys and I´m jealous of all the stuff going on in the Coppercrest ward! not to mention the fact that Elder Stowell had to mention Smashburger! But for reals, the beef here is real good and Elder Slangerup and I bought like 3 pounds of beef (a kilo and a half, roughly) this Saturday and Elder Slangerup (I tried to help, how´s that) made some awesome food for the whole district on Sunday. Good meat, though I have to admit I have to watch how much I eat or I´ll get tired of it too fast.

Ooh ooh ooh! just got a picture on there of my baptism form about two weeks ago.

"And everybody not sitting on a cushion!" (I´m having a hard time movie quote wise here, needless to say they´re not always understood) Good luck everyone and I hope that you have fun for Thanksgiving and I´ll see what I can do about more photos next time!

Adios mis Padres, Hermanos, Hermanas, Amigos, People, Maestros, Chupicabras, all of you.

Elder Enright out

Elder Slangerup, Joana, Diana, and Elder Pelado (Bayley, everyone here says my name Enricht too!!)

Elder Slangerup, Alexis, Elder Enright

In which it reaches approximately NEGATIVE FOUR MILLION DEGREES! (Bayley)

Ok, not really, but seriously.  When I was getting ready to come out here on my mission, I was like "yeah the south it's not gonna get cold at all whatever" and people told me that the main thing is that the cold in the south is different because it's so humid here and so it's a "wet cold" and in all honesty, I didn't quite believe them. Until Saturday, when I walked outside and almost died.  It's weird guys, I'm telling you.  The thermometer might only read 30, but what that really means is 30 minutes till you FREEZE TO DEATH.  Ok so I'm exaggerating. But even everyone here is like "wow this cold spell is really weird, it never gets this cold here, my goodness it's so cold" and in fact some of our members assured us that if we didn't get ourselves some thermal underwear, we were probably going to die.  That's basically verbatim.  The worst part is that it doesn't snow - it just rains ice, which is colder, not pretty, and you can't make snowballs out of it.  So it's like a lose-lose situation all the way around.  But then apparently it's supposed to be all bright and sunny soon enough.  Louisiana weather seriously does rival Colorado weather for randomness.

So earlier this week we were visiting this less active man, Gail, who lives in a nursing home and has a powerful testimony of the church and loves the missionaries and who also regularly has a cup of coffee while we're there, and tells us that it's his only vice, but that's okay because he gave up smoking and drinking. Yeah. So we decided to go in and just hit it hard with Word of Wisdom.  So we start talking about keeping the commandments and everything (that's always how we teach the Word of Wisdom - by first talking about keeping the commandments which is always harmless and everyone agrees that we should obey God and follow his commandments and not kill and steal and all that, and then BAM we just Word-of-Wisdom them after they've already told us about important it is to them to keep the commandments, because at that point you've got them trapped) and so after we've finished going over the Word of Wisdom he goes "oh, so it's a commandment now? Hmm. When did they change that? In my day it was just a suggestion."  Haha!  And we were just like "nope, not a suggestion.  COMMANDMENT" so he sighed all heavy and was like "FINE. The coffee here is nasty anyways." Oh Gail.

Also, remember Ed? The level-three-Mormon-Ed?  Well this week he made a comment to Sister Johnson about her YW temple medallion, which he said was a medal and that she must be pretty high up in the church.  He then looks at me and goes "Sister Enright?" and I was all "yes, Ed" and then he told me that "Enright" was a good leader name, and if I ever "made captain or president in the church" I had the best name for it. Haha, good ol' Ed, calling me Captain Enright.  I had no problem with it, actually, since most people here prefer to either forget my name, tell me it's weird, or call me "Sister Engritch," no matter how many times I pointedly introduce myself as Sister EnRIGHT.  

Another story this week came from our Hour of Power, when we tracted into this guy Oscar, who was super friendly and talked to us for a while.  And then, after we invited him to come to church, he looks at us all serious and whispers "black people can go there?" and we were all "of course!" and he, even more confused, said "but there ain't no such thing as black Mormons" and we were all "yes there are" and he keeps shaking his head and goes "I dunno, I always thought they were something like leprechauns or unicorns, you know? There's no such thing as black Mormons."  So then Sister Johnson bore powerful testimony and he got all excited and was like "huh, well yeah!  Crazy, I guess they're not just mythical then!" and told us that he couldn't come to church this Sunday, but he'd be there soon, just to see if we were telling the truth.  And then he went off for a long time debating with us whether or not Tim Tebow was a Mormon, which - in case you're wondering - he's not.  The debate was settled by Google.

Random stories aside, let me be serious for a minute.

This week I really learned about the reality of Satan.  That sounds awfully foreboding, but allow me to explain. Satan is REAL.  We tell this to our investigators all the time because we know that as they start to really do what is right and draw closer to God, they are going to face opposition.  It's just true.  Someone told me once that things are harder for those doing good, because why would Satan be spending time on those he already has doing what he wants them to do?  It's those people who are searching for and finding Christ that he will work on, because those are the ones that threaten him.  And that is SO true.  Right now we have 2 sisters who are actively preparing for baptism, who are super excited for it and who have such a love and passion for the gospel, and both of them faced serious trials this week.  One of them, her boss told her that she pretty much has to work Sundays now or risk losing her job.  He working Sundays now keeps her from coming to church, which keeps her from being able to be baptized.  As she's dealt with this, she's come to realize that she has to make priorities in her life, and has told us that maybe she just needs to find another job, even though that would face serious strain on her family.  So there's one example of the opposition these people face.  As for the other sister, her mother was rushed to the hospital in Houston earlier this week.  She returned home maybe four days later, and then the next morning *her* mom (so our investigator's grandmother) was rushed to the emergency room.  In both of these circumstances, the trials these women are facing shows me the blessings God must have in store for them, if Satan is really trying that hard to keep them from receiving them!  Moral of the story: when things get hard, what is most important is that you keep doing GOOD and having FAITH.  With both of these sisters we've just had to assure them that, in the end, God is FAR more powerful than Satan ever will be, and if they just have the faith and determination to follow God NO MATTER WHAT, they will ALWAYS come out on top.

Thank you all so much for your prayers!  I love you all, and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
Sister Enright

Bautismo!! (Kegan)

It has been great to hear from you guys every Monday and thank you guys for your letters and information on recently missed opportunities, and movies that I will see in about a year and a half. To be specific.

Right, about that baptism

In case any of you don´t remember we have been teaching Azaria, a young women who is 21 years old and renting a small living space from a member.   The first time we met with her she seemed pretty closed off but has opened up much more to us in just a few weeks.  Her story is pretty sad, she found out she was adopted when she was 13 years old and since then her parents have never treated her like their daughter.  She discovered the names of her parents for the first time after her interview for her baptism because we had searched for the information so that we could fill out the new member form.  The last time we taught her, Saturday, she asked us if she could have a birthday party with the members of the church because she has NEVER had a birthday celebration, ever.  So, what it comes down to is that she has been the happiest she has ever been in the recent three weeks we have been preparing her to be baptised. 

Earlier this week we hopped on a migro and rode to Ventanas for about 25 minutes to visit with a new investigator by the name of Victor.  Elder Ramirez, our district leader, received his name as a reference from a member in his last area who just happens to be Victor´s daughter.  So we taught Victor about the Restoration and he accepted a baptismal date for the 14th of December and to begin attending church with us.  He came yesterday with his five year old son, Victor.   The whole time he kept saying that things his daughter had told him and things he had heard and read were beginning to make much more sense now.

Yesterday, I woke up a little early to make the brownies I had promised to bring to the baptsm. I also had to prepare a talk to give on missionary work with what little time I had before the meeting started, I focused on the Book of Mormon, but the talk itself was terrible so I won´t make any more mention of it.  After the block of meetings we shuffled people into the chapel and I made the discovery that the ward´s young men had eaten half the brownies during their meeting an hour ago. So we took pictures outside and had a basic Baptism, Azaria was feeling very nervous and Victor told Elder Ramirez, when he saw Azaria go under the water, ¨that´s where I'm heading.¨  Yes it certainly is.

Rhys:   I love hearing about you in Argentina, there appear to be many similarities accompanied by slight and large  differences between Chile, the buses here in South America are insanely fun.  Here they are called migros, the collectivos are the taxis, but the cheap-rollercoaster idea remains the same.  Definitely watch out for the soda, I got sick of it on day one and you can definitely see here how bad it is for your health.   I would love to see pictures as soon as you get your camera!

Thank you guys for everything and remember that whether you are a full time missionary or not you are always a missionary.

Elder Kegan Enright

Bishop and Azaria

Monday, November 18, 2013

Pelado! (Rhys)

Hola, people! Thanks for all of the emails and letters that I have received because every single p'day is the best thing ever as me and all in my pension (My companion elder Slangerup and also the two others whom we share a pension with also whom I haven´t mentioned yet, Elders Mudrovish and Batt, Elder Mudrovich is from Vina Del Mar and next week  when I remember to ask him which part I´ll tell you and he says that Quintero is gorgeous and everyone here says Elder Batt´s name "butt" and it´s really funny and oh my gosh I really could make this thing go on forever if I wanted to, but I´m not going to so that I can get on with writing things that are actually interesting like I have the good computer this time so I can actually type fast rather than have to pound every button down as hard as I can to get it to anything, okay, I´m done now) sit down and eat newly purchased lunch and read printed emails. I just wish that after that everyone else would actually want to do something because then they all go to sleep and apparently without mound upon mound of college work to complete, I can´t nap. So I try and find other stuff to do around the pension, mostly clean and kill bugs, and draw and write.

Seriously though, this week was quite Bueno (sidenote here, I´m not quite speaking Spanish yet, I´m speaking spanglish still), Elder Slangerup and I pretty much completed almost every single goal that we´re supposed to get and even over-achieved on a few. For instance, two baptisms and two confirmations the following Sunday don´t sound too bad to me. I´m so excited to see this awesome tiny little branch in Formosa capital grow and I would really like to leave it a ward because the members here that work so hard deserve it more than anything to have the church grow with and around them. We also have a few new investigators that we´re teaching, one of them is a part member family with a son of about thirteen baptized and we´re working on getting the rest of the family to church because families are the best! 

I really don´t know how to segue this into something else entirely with out saying so, so here goes. I´m going to talk about something else. Until I made it out here, I didn´t quite realize how spoiled I was in the states. I love it here and I´ll be sad to leave, but there are so many things that you don´t realize you´d miss until you really do. Like properly sized plungers for instance. For a country that apparently has no toilets that actually do anything other than shoot a  tiny bit of water into the toilet bowl, you´d think that they´d be a bit prepared with an actually workable plunger in case. . . well, you know. In case the situation arises. . But it rules here. We have these colectivos (busses) that are super fun to ride on and if you grab onto the handle above your head, then when the colectivo stops, because they stop super fast, you can whip your feet out from in front of you and be completely horizontal for a few seconds as the brakes squeal. 

Oh! almost forgot to explain the pelado thing. Earlier this week, my companion got his hair cut by a member who had just bought an electric hair cutter thingy and offered to cut our hair. When his hair was cut, we had to rush back to our apartment so I got my hair cut another day, Wednesday to be exact. Before I got it cut, the member asked me how I wanted it. So I told her (oh yeah, her name is Hermana Acosta and she´s the wife of our branch president and the whole family is super awesome) 3 on the sides and 9 on the top, those were the numbers that you could choose to make it longer or shorter or what ever and yeah you know all that. Well, yeah. She cut it all at 3. So after all my hair se fue, we went to visit one of our investigators (one of the ones who just got baptized, Diana) and she lives with her mother who is super awesome and like the grandmother (not literally) of almost every kid in a square kilometer. So lots of little kids were coming up and high fiving us and rolling round laughing yelling "Pelado, pelado!" Which yeah, means bald. Don´t worry, it´s growing back. and for the first few days I had to rub sunblock on my snow white cabeza (made me think of Jim Gaffigan) until it got a little bit of a tan on my scalp so that I don´t die of skin cancer down here. On the bright side, people staring at my head and asking questions is a good way to get past gates and sitting down teaching lessons, because Elder Slangerup and I are going to bring everyone to church, one way or another. 

Thanks again for all of the emails and letters and I´m looking at cameras to buy, but still praying for the other to pop up, I have most stuff backed up on a thumb drive including the videos (I wasn´t going to let those go, Elder Stowell) and it´s just my last week in Vegas with lots of awesome photos. I´m now going to send this letter and pretend that I don´t care that it has no structure whatsoever, I´ll worry about English when I´m speaking it again.

Elder Rhys Enright

P.S. something really funny here is that every Elder, escpecially the latinos, use the word fetch a lot. The latino elders will be speaking super fast Spanish and all of a sudden fetch will slip in and it´s really funny to hear.
P.P.S. Jake, thanks for the email soo much, I´m working on coming up with a name,

The Christmas music season has begun (Bayley)

Well hello there everyone!

Yes, yes indeed.  We are listening to Christmas music.  But since neither Sister Johnson or I actually brought our own, we are listening to the Christmas CDs that have been left behind by previous missionaries, and for the most part, there are reasons for their being left behind.  Like the CD that is Christmas songs as played on a music box, or the one that has a seriously atrocious opera cover of "Oh Come All Ye Faithful." *shudder*

But anyways.

So this week was pretty stellar.  Lots of miracles, lots of southern cooking (and by that I mean others cooking, my eating) and some actually relatively cold days which was sort of my favorite, except that I didn't really think of it ever being cold when I packed for my mission, and so found myself highly inadequately prepared for it.  Biking in the cold wet wind with a cool cotton skirt (because it's so warm here, right?) and no tights is kind of one of the worst things ever, so we just had to keep our car super over heated to make up for it.  But then of course it warmed right up and got excessively warm, so that we got in our car one morning and almost died.  True story.  

Anyways, so a brief story.

This last week we were giving the dinner message to a family in the ward, and were talking about feeling the Holy Ghost, and this one little boy starts going off about how the Holy Ghost is like bubbles, and how when you blow bubbles and they pop on you, you can just barely feel them and pretty much that's what feeling the Holy Ghost is like.  Yup.  I was seriously dying, laughing so hard my companion had to take over and finish the message.  I don't know why I thought it was so funny...but it was.  It was adorable though, because afterwards, we challenged them to all sit still for a minute after their prayers with their eyes shut so they could try and feel the Holy Ghost, and so we all knelt down to say the closing prayer and this same little kid was like "EVERYBODY REMEMBER TO KEEP YOUR EYES SHUT AND BE QUIET AFTERWARDS I WANT TO FEEL THE HOLY GHOST" and so then we said "amen" and he just sat there kneeling with his eyes clamped shut for like five minutes, the rest of us were all sort of opening our eyes and looking at each other wondering when he was going to open his eyes.  Finally he did, and said "ok.  I felt it.  Mom can we have brownies now?"  Haha.

We also have this guy we're working with who we think is a little schizophrenic (like approximately 30% of our teaching/less-active pool is) who says he is already a member of the church, but we don't quite know if that is true, and so we were sitting with him asking questions and talking about Joseph Smith and stuff and he just starts going off all about how in his last Mormon church they had him in the arts and crafts class, and he couldn't "level up" out of it until he stopped smoking, and how there were different levels at the church and people in different levels got different rewards and could go to different classes and whatnot, and we were like "um, well, I'm not quite sure that was a Mormon church" (because he's been to so many different churches, he gets them mixed up in his head all the time) and he was like "oh, ok" and then later we were talking to a member about the whole thing, and he jokingly says "well that's a weird way to look at it, but I guess it's true - I was baptized and I've been to the temple and I'm married so I'm like a level 5 Mormon" and so now we're making level Mormon jokes, and it's funny but we also we should probably stop, haha.

But anyways - the miracle stories!

First of all: Heather.

So we met Heather months ago - seriously.  Sister Barton and I knocked on her door and she was like "yes please this sounds so amazing come back another time" so we went back another time and she was like "yes please I need this but not right now" and eventually we just stopped trying.  But then the other day I felt like we needed to go see Heather, it's been a few months anyways (because mission time is ridiculous and it goes by so fast you don't even realize it) and we knocked on her door and she let us right in and we taught her a lesson and she asked to come by the next day so we did and then long story short she's getting baptized.  Actually that wasn't really a "long story short," because we invited her to be baptized like right then at that second lesson - but then even after that she still wanted to be baptized, which is always a bonus.  But wait, there's more.  We were talking to her about the church that is here, and she goes "wait a second, it is on Sale Lane?" and she starts describing our church building to us and we were honestly shocked, because NOBODY here knows where our church is - it's tucked away on this little road, Sale Lane, and when we say "Sale" everybody thinks it's on Sale *Road,* and I'm fairly certain that a good number of the people we teach who don't show up for church on Sunday aren't there because they're at the giant Methodist church on Sale Rd thinking it's the Mormon church.  Except hopefully it wouldn't take long for it to be made clear that wasn't the case.  But anyways - so we were like "yeah!  That's our church!" and then she tells us that she used to go to that church all the time when she was little with her next door neighbor, who was apparently a Mormon.  And then she goes "I guess God's been wanting me to be there my whole life - and he's finally guiding me back there" to which we were like "yeah, pretty much."

Second of all: Annabelle.

Annabelle is seriously the sweetest most wonderful girl ever - her mom and grandma are members, and one day we got a phone call from her mom, Sister Guidry, that "hey, my daughter wants to talk to y'all about getting the lessons and getting baptized," which is kind of like the phone call every missionary dreams of receiving.  So we've been teaching her, and she is all set to be baptized on December 1.  But anyways, the other day after our lesson she tells us that she prayed about her baptism date, and that when she did that she got the warmest feeling, and it made her so happy, and she just couldn't explain it.  And then she told us she always felt this happiness every time she met with us, and when she went to church, and read the Book of Mormon.  It was incredible.  It has been one of my favorite things on my mission so far to see people feel the Spirit.  It's amazing.  With Heather, with Annabelle, with so many people this week, they have all born testimony to us about the happiness they have felt.  And you know what?  I know it's not me doing that.  Sister Johnson and I are not amazing teachers, we are not professionally trained - we're just little ol' missionaries.  But if we are doing our duty, God can work through us, and that is what I know is happening each time my investigators feel the Spirit, and feel that happiness.  And you know, this isn't limited to just us full time missionaries.  To all of you - when we are doing what is right, and what God wants us to do, we have his Spirit with us, and other people can see and feel that.  And God can use you as an instrument in His hands, to bring forth his work no matter who you are, where you are, or what you're doing.  

Pretty neat, huh?

Sister Enright

Hayskrim y Kukys (Kegan)

Hello Family!
Thank you so much for the emails pictures and letters.
At the beginning of this week I emailed you guys about the last week but obviously you know that already, I hope.  So after Emails and the rest of P-day, which I spent pretty much all of cleaning the kitchen in our pension (rhyme, double points!) we went back to work.

That same night we visited Jaqueline and Kimberly.  Kimberly is a recent convert who was actually baptized when Elder Call was serving over here.  Her mother, Jaqueline, was not baptized and still has not been.  Jaqueline has a strong testimony of the church and the Book of Mormon, which she is reading for the fourth time, but still cannot be baptized because of the man whom she lives with and is not married to.  They actually have pretty much no relationship together.  They have a daughter, Ignacia, but now have separate rooms in their apartment and pretty much live separate lives.  What really stands in Jaquelines way of being baptized is that she doesn´t have the heart to throw him out because he literally has nowhere else to go, she also won´t marry him because he is the type of guy who disappears for days or weeks before showing back up at the house and lying around for a couple days. We are also not the only people who want her to be baptized, Kimberly really wants her mother to be baptized because she knows it is the first step to becoming an eternal family.  They both have a strong relationship with the missionaries and we have visited them several times this week to see how they are, to deliver a birthday cake, and to teach them about baptism and the plan of salvation.

Last week we found two new investigators, Ana and her son, Edgar.   They were both genuinely interested in the gospel and we had a visit with them this past Wednesday accompanied by their member friend Roberto and the Bishop.  We had an awesome lesson on the gospel of Jesus Christ, they both accepted the invitation to be baptized and were ready to come with us to a Noche de Hogar were were having Thursday.  Thursday came, we bought a cake for the Noche de Hogar and were preparing to visit with Ana and Edgar before the NdH to take them to the home at which we were having it.  However, at Robertos house, Roberto gave us a bag that Ana had given him so that he could deliver it to us.  In the bag were the two Books of Mormon we had given them as well as the three pamphlets and a letter as well.  In the letter Ana told us that she had spoken with a member of her church who told her she was fine where she was and that she was grateful for all of our time, but would rather we stop teaching her.  Fetch! Needless to say we didn´t take the cake to the NdH (It later went to Kimberly for her birthday).  I really don´t know what to say, but I was honestly super depressed when I read that letter and even more so when the Noche de Hogar went so stinking well.  We are still going to try to find time for her to meet with us but it looks slim.  The rest of the week was actually very awesome so don´t feel too bad for me.

Elder Kegan

This lady makes us wear bibs when we eat lunch with her, at least we look so great. Starting from left: Elders Gomez, McDaniels, and Ramirez, our district leader.


Look! It´s Ice C-,  I mean Hayskrim

They´ve got Kukys too!!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Four for you, Glen Coco, you go Glen Coco! (Bayley)

This particular title has to do with the fact that I'm staying in Lake Charles for another transfer!  Which means I've been blessed with four transfers here - which means I'm practically Glen Coco, life is so good. Transfer calls came this past weekend and though we are losing some of the elders in our district (which is always sad) I am so blessed to be here in my mission birthplace for another transfer - which includes Thanksgiving, which I'm stoked about.  They deep fry their turkeys here, and I've heard it's heavenly.

Anyways, deep fried turkey aside, let's talk about missionary work.

It's kind of the best thing ever.

This past week, we had knocked on this guy's door and he was interested in hearing about our message (which is always exciting) and we told him about how the wonderful news that we bring to people is that Christ's church and the fullness of God's everlasting gospel is back on the earth, and then we asked him that if was to find out for himself that this was true, would he be baptized by that restored power of God - the priesthood - into that true church?  His response: "well DUH."  Haha!  I love it.

Some other notable moments of the week:

While giving the message at a member's home, we were teaching a whole  crowd of little children about Joseph Smith and the power of prayer.  We asked "If Heavenly Father was sitting here right now - what would you ask him?"  One girl raised her hand and said "How did God make Eve out of Adam's rib?" while another asked "How did we all come from like one family but there are so many different last names?"  Yeah. Talk about deep doctrine.

While teaching a less active who has been coming back to church but never staying the full 3-hour block:
Me: "Duncan, why don't you stay for all of church?"
Duncan: *dead serious* "I'm afraid that if the blessings come too fast, I'll just go crazy!"

While talking to an investigator who had just returned from a voodoo festival in New Orleans:
Miss Belle: "You gotta sin every once in a while, just so you have something to pray about!"

While at Chiles having lunch with a member:
Sis Howell: *after finishing her food* "Well there goes my diet"
Waitress: "Not really - wasn't it white cheese on top?  Mozzarella?  Yeah - white cheese has no calories."
No joke.
Yup.  So pretty much, down here in the south, pizza is like the healthiest thing ever - just some good grains and tomatoes, with no-calorie goodness melted all over the top.  Throw some veggies on top of that and you're such a health nut it's out of control.

While teaching our 12 year old investigator, Taymyra:
Me: "What things could you thank God for?"
Taymyra: *thinks for a minute* "That I'm not a beetle." True that.
And, in the same lesson, after teaching about how God can answer her prayers through the Holy Ghost, and how he does so she said: "I've never felt the Holy Ghost before...or seen it.  Except in the Simpsons." Haha!

And one of my favorite stories of the whole week happened just yesterday.  We had a little bit of time to spend before our dinner appointment, and decided to go check up on our investigator Elizabeth, who has been sick and so unable to meet with us for a while.  We knocked on her door, and after she answers she pretty much completely breaks down and starts sobbing about how she's so tired and everything is so hard and she just doesn't know what to do.  We comforted her as much as we could, and then asked if she would like a priesthood blessing.  She told us yes, and we told her that we'd be back in like an hour with some young men who could give her a blessing.  So we leave and call Elders Kleinman and Brewer, and ask if they could come down to Lake Chuck to give one of our investigators a blessing, which they say they can do.  Fast forward to like an hour later, we're all sitting there in her living room preparing for her to receive the blessing.  She wanted a blessing of healing, and so we tell her a little bit about the priesthood and ask if she has the faith to be healed, and then Elder Brewer gives her like the most incredible blessing of healing ever.  It was amazing.  One thing I've truly loved about my mission is seeing the priesthood in action.  It really is the power of God on earth today, and every time I witness a blessing I am reminded of what an incredible gift this priesthood is to all of us today.  After the elders finished giving her the blessing, Elizabeth sat there for like 5 minutes with her eyes closed, until she whispered "I can feel the warmth."  It was really incredible.  The spirit was so strong, and Elizabeth was just completely overwhelmed by it.  Afterwards, she took the elders hands and just sat there for a while, telling all about how she felt.

Listen, guys.  This is real life here.  The power of God is on the earth today.  We have it.  He's given it to us to help each other and ourselves.  So many people don't know that!  They don't know that God has given us the priesthood, and to think of all the blessings they could have by it just reminds me of the importance of this work.  This is the real deal.

And then, in proper Lake Charles-ian fashion, the whole experience ended with Elizabeth saying she had a question for us, which went like this:
"There's a Carrie Underwood song, and I can't remember it...God has the wheel?  Jesus at the wheel?"
Elder Brewer: "Jesus Take the Wheel?"
Elizabeth: "Yes!  That one.  Is that a popular song?"

Haha!  My goodness, it was just perfect.

This work is so amazing, you guys.  I just can't even begin to tell you how much it has changed my life to be a missionary.  Love to you all,  

Sister Bayley Enright

LOUISIANA!  I don't care where I go the rest of my mission, but Louisiana will alllllways be my favorite

me, Rhoda, and Mark and Mikah  - pretty much some of my favorite people ever. they're doing Rhoda's new member lessons with us. I love them. Also my camera was foggy. Don't know why.
Bro Boies is this LA guy who is hilarious
A turkey fryer! Seriously, this is going to be good.

Sister McQueen is in my zone, and I love her. A lot.

A street called "elder". Pretty self explanatory.

Sister Kulu!
Gator pond, where the elders threw everything they could find at the gator to make it move. Haha

Second Week in Argentina! (Rhys)

Wow, there are a lot of you that I forgot to send my last email to, which I must admit I am super grateful for. When I first got here, everyone was telling me that the first week was going to be hard and that I was going to want to go home that whole time. I was thinking that they were all wrong, but then the realization that I no longer had my camera pretty much made me want to cry until I went home. So my whole first week (okay, not all of it, just until p-day) was terrible. So my last email is pretty much my whiny letter that I´m glad I didn´t send to everyone, though I am willing to bet quite a bit of money that it´s on the blog, so I guess who I sent it to or didn´t really doesn´t matter. However, thank you all who sent me emails telling me it would get better because it has, actually, I think that it´s the same, I´ve just stopped whining, mostly. 

No, I don´t have my camera, but we are living here like kings compared to most of the people here and definitely when compared to those that are in our area. We have an awesome mission president who always wants us to tell him if we´re lacking in anything. And it´s pretty cheap to live here anyway. 

Elder Slangerup and I are working this area like crazy, which is saying something considering that Elder Slangerup got here only one week before I did and got shouldered with the responsibilities of a District Leader at the same time. We have three baptisms lined up for this coming Saturday and one of them, Yoana, is what we call a golden investigator. She hasn´t had any problems the whole time that we´ve taught her, with anything, and she came to church with us the first time we invited her! As far as the work goes down here, getting people to come to church is the hard part, but Yoana (said like Joanna) hasn´t seemed to show any strain to do anything whatsoever even though I know that it´s hard sometimes if not always. 

One thing that I´ve learned not to take for granted ever again is water. When Elder Slangerup and I are walking around all day in 100+ degrees (fahrenheit, everything here is in celsius, so it´s somewhere between 30 and 40). Another thing, I´m starting to get real skinny from all of the walking around,  no matter how much I eat, which is a lot. 

One thing that seems to have happened a lot over this past week, is encounters with drunk guys. One of these encounters was just yesterday when a guy who was obviously very very drunk, asked us to come and share the word of God, so we did. His girlfriend came out a few times and then she said something to me in the middle of the lesson and while I can teach the lessons well in Spanish, and actually speak and understand alright, sometimes, the speed at which people speak throws me way off. So I had no idea what she was saying, but Elder Slangerup told me that she said she likes my eyes. Okay kind of off the subject, but not too weird considering how many people here like blue eyes, no biggie. After the closing prayer though, the guy, Walter, said that another Elder would have to come back next time because he didn´t want me coming back. But luckily it turns out that he lives in the area of other elders and he was at the house of a friend when we taught him. The likelihood of him actually taking all the lessons is slim because he was drunk, but we´ll always try.

That´s a thing here that is way different than in the states, we teach all the time to any one.  A lot of the time, it´s kids. We taught in the states, but here we just ask people everywhere if they would like to here a short lesson/charla that´s about 5-10 minutes long and a surprising amount of the time, it´s a yes. 

So things are awesome here, Elder Stowell, I don´t know if you have everyone´s emails from our old zone, but if I could get a few, that would rock! I should let Elder Cipriano know that I kind of gyped him on his transfer journal signing, I didn´t have a lot of time. Good luck in vegas!!  Everyone else, good luck with whatever you may be doing, but know that you can´t possibly have as much fun as I´m having here!
Elder Rhys Enright

Ch-ch-ch-ch CHANGES!!! (Kegan)

That´s right, changes have come and gone and I can´t help but think of the David Bowie song when they are mentioned.  For those of you who are not in the mision (or in the mission) and/or don´t understand the concept of changes I´ll be quick with a description.  Changes happen every six weeks and it is when you will possibly be ripped right out of the little world you have built around yourself, your companion, and your area.  What´s worse is that you don´t know if you are going to be cruelly removed from the lives of your investigators, recent converts, and members until the morning of changes.  It´s terrible, nerve racking, sad, and oh soo fun.  A little like not knowing you are about to go skydiving for the first time in your life until your are simply shoved out of the airplane by your tall, imposing, Argentinian/German Mission President, but they really are fun.

So, knowing that changes were coming, Elder Call and I took some time on Tuesday to make visits to those we would miss the most, namely: Carlos (who Elder Call had helped to reactivate in the church), The Rojas Family (the best family of recent converts, and one investigator, I have yet to meet), and Marion and her Mother, Hermana Erica ( Very strong and very recent convert and her mother who is the nicest lady in the world).  All while we were making these visits, Elder Call and I both felt like we might  the Elder who was going to be sent elsewhere but we did feel like Elder Call, having spent more time in the area, was going to be the one who would go.  Although Hermana Erica guessed that I would leave.  Curse her motherly intuition. 
Wednesday morning, after Elder Call and I had finished ¨pumping iron¨ in the park, we got a call from the zone leaders while Elder Call was about to take a shower.  I was going to leave Gomez Carreño.  I felt really sad because we had recently begun taching Marion´s brother and I really wanted to see Mauricio baptise his mother and so Elder Call, empathetic as he is, looked up at me after the zone leaders hung up and said, ¨Sucker, that means I don´t have to pack,¨ and shut the bathroom door in my face.
Yup, at changes meeting Presidente Kähnlein announced that I would now be serving in the Quintero B mission as junior comp. to Elder Gomez. Fun Fact: Quintero B is the very same area Elder Call was born (mission terms) in.  Quintero is gorgeous and reminds me a bit of Stratton, Colorado despite being a bay town and therefore directly next to the ocean and it is super gigantic, oh yeah, and about half of our area here is a peninsulla (penensula, Penansoola, p3n1n2u14? English is really getting away from me).  All in all I have no idea why it reminds me of Stratton, it just does.  Elder Gomez is from Guatemala, where he served the first eight months of his mission, he is currently in his second change in Chile and is an awesome teacher, for me and the investigators.  He can walk super fast too, I mean super fast.
Here in Quintero B we live in a small shack that is pretty much a KOA cabin that has been abandoned in apearrance.  We also have another pair of Elders in our ward, Elder Ramirez (Tall and big, from Peru, reminds of Jake and is therefore awesome, we also had to lug an extra suitcase of his that was full of weights to move him over here from Viña, he is also our District Leader here) and Elder McDaniels ( From California, served in the same zone as me my first change).  We get to have lunch with them in the members homes almost every day here.
This Sunday was awesome.  A member brought a young man (Cesar) and his girlfriend (Azaria) who are NOT living together (thank goodness, such circumstances are rare here in Chile) but are both renting different casas from the member.  They arrived at the second hour and sat in on the Gospel Principles class on the Plan of Salvation (no, they didn´t sit ON the Plan of Salvation the class subject was the Plan of Salvation).  They were both interested in the class, Azaria a little more than Cesar.  After the third hour of church was up they were looking at the photos of recent Baptisms in the ward.  Elder Gomez went over and told them what the photos were of and what Baptism is.  He had barely started when Azaria responded that she really wanted to be baptized because she hasn´t had the opportunity to be Baptized yet, she said that was why she came with the member (sorry, still don´t remember the name) to church.
We arranged to meet with them later that very day, so we took a bus to Loncura and walked super rapidly to their houses which are located right next to the house of the member from whom they rent.  We taught them about the Restoration of the Gospel and about the Word of Wisdom, they accepted baptismal dates for the 24th of Nov. (Azaria) and the 1st of Dec. (Cesar, he will have to be in Santiago working next Sunday and will only have two church attendances by the 24th out of the necessary three, the 1st is the Sunday after the 24th)
While, and after, we were teaching them I realized two very important things.  One, God is literally preparing these people left and right to receive his gospel.  Azaria has been prepared by trials and has learned how much God really does love her through the perseverance she has received; Prepared.  Earlier in the week we taught a reference se llama Ana who told us she has seen a downspiral in her life ever since she stopped feeling like she loved God in return, she said one of the reasons she wanted to talk with us and attend our church was to reconnect herself and her life with God. Um....Prepared! Sometimes I feel I do very little to find these people.
The Second thing visiting with Azaria and Cesar taught me was how necessary it is for Companionships to find and begin teaching new investigators together.  Elder Gomez and I have gotten along much better since we taught Azaria and Cesar.  Before then I felt I was almost butting in on the visits Elder Gomez and I were having with investigators and recent Converts.  Now, we have investigators that are ours with which we can, and must, trust each other  to teach and keep.  They have made us better friends because we have now made friends we both share.  If all of this repeating isn´t helping you understand what I mean I am sorry, I can´t really describe it any other way, you´ll just have to serve a mission I guess (that reminds me, Cesar said he is interested in being a missionary, possibly, after he is baptised, Skadooosh)

Elder Kegan Enright

With Elder Call y Familia Rojas, sin Veronica
Crochet roses one of our investigators makes
She does paper art too.
Our 'cabin.'
Awesome abandoned church not far from the cabin
Angel statue on cool church
Me and church
Part of the peninsula part of my new area, it's gorgeously torturous

Monday, November 4, 2013

First Week in Argentina (Rhys)

(Rhys flew to Argentina last Monday, he had three flights, one of them 10 hours long, and two lengthy layovers plus a night in a hotel before arriving in Resistencia.  All together nearly 48 hours of traveling.)

Hola!  Not really sure how to put this, but right now I would have been way content to stay in Vegas. As far as missionary work goes, it rocks here! I got to baptize an awesome chica named Jasmine (hazmeen) and we have a baptism lined up for the next 4 weeks! The work here is crazy, one thing. 

But my first day here, my camera was pppbbbffft, gone. I want to say that I lost it, it´s possible that I just left it in the hotel where all of us gringos stayed the first night and I talked with the mission president and he says that he will check with the hotel and that if it is there they should get it because they know the people that run the hotel are alright and they should be able to get it back. But I have not heard a single thing from him since and I think that rather than having left the camera behind, I think that someone stole it. I have been praying and asking that the camera will find a way back to me because the fact that I lost it has ruined my first week here. I didn´t just lose a camera, but also 30+ pictures of people from Vegas. TMNT cup pictures, pictures with my zone, stuff like that. So guess what I haven´t done a lot of recently? taking pictures. Luckily, Elder Slangerup was able to get pictures of the baptism, but I don't know if I will be able to get them. 

If it weren´t for the missionary work, it'd be really, really hard to be here. We´re in Formosa right now, probably the poorest part of Argentina, and we´re in the poorest part of Formosa. So we just walk the streets and high five kids and teach them a bit of English and mostly, teach and baptize. Everyone hear is super humble and accepts the gospel real easily and as opposed to Vegas, the easiest thing here is to get to teach people and the hardest thing to do is to live. Our pension (apartment) has ants all over it, all the time. The bathroom is one of the nastiest things I have ever seen/smelt and the kitchen. . . really there isn´t one. But we´re lucky to have a fridge and a tiny oven that the mission was able to get us. It seems sometimes like all there is here is mud (lots of it), mosquitos, stray dogs that are trying to kill each other, and people to baptize. I didn't realize how spoiled I was in Vegas until I had to leave it all, and I really miss it.

It´s tough here (especially without a camera, still looking for it everywhere!), but we have an awesome branch here that I plan on leaving as a ward because I want everyone here to get the chance to experience how amazing it is. This is a really disjointed and random email, so I´m going to finish it and ask Elder Stowell if I could get more emails from our zone, because I only have yours and maybe Elder Patterson´s. I miss everyone and cannot wait to get to feel a real shower again, and carpet (sweet carpet, I can´t lay on the floor here cause it hurts.)

Elder Enright

Humbug! (Kegan)

I´m going to steal the Miracle format from Bayley for today

           This week has been chock full of literal miracles, no joke. Just last Monday I was having problems with my card, as in the card with money on it (not taped onto it or anything as I´m sure you are trying to imagine), VISA.  There have been troubles with it in the past as in not being able to use it to purchase food at the registers in the Tottus (our local Safeway lookalike) and when that is its very purpose, that´s something of a problem.  So I have been having to pull cash from ATM machines in order to buy food, extra charge in the case of the machines. Second problem, I had ended up with only 3,800 pesos to buy my food for the week (500 pesos = 1 dollar) I really don´t know how because I have become a bit like Ebenezer Scrooge when it comes to money here, I keep track of all of it and I should have had more, BAH! Humbug! Short phone conversation with the finanzero of the mission, my card must just not work with the registers in Tottus and I will just have to buy food for three days, Miercoles marks November and a new a month means more money, I´ll finish my shopping then. But I will still need to eat for those three days, can´t pull cash for lack of funds, and all I have in the pension is pretty much Skittles and Peanut Butter (kudos to the best Mom ever).  So I grab about five dollars worth of yogurt (in a bag because this is Chile) and eggs, to make sure I certainly have enough money, and we pray in the baking aisle to be able to find a register that will function with my card.  Walking slowly back towards the entrance and looking for a register we can choose I see the number 13 and feel really good about it.  So that´s the one we went to and VOILA!! my card works and I eat delicious yogurt and egg (and Skittles and Peanut Butter) to survive until Miercoles when I received my precious money (¨humbug¨).  

         Second and Third miracles.  This past jueves was hard, really hard.  It was a hot day and nobody was opening their doors to us until we visited with an inactive family who went inactive after the very active father died several years ago and  we have been trying to get come back to church.  We could enter this time because the Hermana´s older son was in the house, so we sat down with the two of them and talked about the importance of going to church.  At first the Hermana wasn´t very interested in  coming back at all and told us she felt her son needed to go, but only so that he would one day receive the Priesthood and be the priesthood holder of the home.  That was when Elder Call pulled out the big guns, taught and testified about church, faith, family, and being an example of the believers, (short description of Elder Call: He looks like Peter Parker and kicks about the same amount of butt as Spiderman, Kicking butt in missionary terms of course).  The Hermana showed a MIRACULous amount of humility and the spirit just made things click in her mind like a... well a miracle.  

That very night as we walked by the church our SocSoc president asked us to help her with this and that for her parents anniversary party she was throwing in the cultural hall that very instant.  As we exited the church , later than we´d planned, we saw a woman working in the garden outside a house we had been knocking at for weeks without success.   Her name is Patricia and she is a reference we received a while back.  That night we were able to teach her about the Book of Mormon, which she took a copy of to read for herself, and about the Plan of Salvation to answer some questions she had.  She isn´t a new investigator because she is going to move this week, but we are going to put her  in contact with the Elders over there possibly through a lesson with the other Elders as kind of a switch-off.

So, awesome, very hard week past I want to thank you guys for your letters, emails, packages, and prayers, they really and truly make the difference.  Rhys:  Have an awesome time in Argentina, I will read your letters later today on paper, but still, good luck.  Family (back home): Halloween pictures are awesome, I am very sure you guys amped up the costumes since I left.  Bayley:  Good luck with any dog-crazy people from here on out, I suggest a DogDazer, Elder Call´s mom sent him one (If you are reading this Sister Call, thank you soooooooo much for the DogDazer) It is pretty much a Stupefy remote for dogs.  CCM Distrito:  I miss you all and Elder Watson I wanted to commend you on your fortune telling skills, everybody here pronounces my name ¨Enricht¨ or ¨Henricht¨

Elder Enright

Awkward District photo

4 Newly ordained Elders in our ward!
Cool Flower
For Elder Call's parents--Elder Call.
And Elder Call again.

A Baptism for Lake Chuck! (Bayley)

My goodness dear family and friends, you are not going to believe what happened this last week.

Okay, well, actually you might, since I pretty much told you all it was going to be happening - but happen it did.

Rhoda got baptized!

It was really and truly one of the most incredible experiences of my entire mission - and that is saying a lot, because I have had so many incredible experiences.  But when you see somebody you have come to truly love enter the waters of baptism, to take that step on the gospel path and make those promises with her Heavenly Father...dadgum, it's just amazing.  Elder Kleinman, our district leader, was actually the one who baptized her. Perks of being an elder.  But anyways.  During her baptism, I was thinking back to when Sister Johnson and I first met her - less than a month ago! - and it is crazy how much we can see the Lord working in all things. When we knocked on her door, when we held up the Book of Mormon and were like "hey check it out!  Pretty cool huh? Please let us come back" we had NO IDEA what was going to happen next.  We had NO IDEA that the Lord had been preparing her, that she had been praying every night for a church to go to, that she had been facing challenges and questioning things and just NEEDED the gospel.  But God led us to her door.  God is a God of miracles - FACT.  And he can use us to work those miracles so long as we let Him, and prepare ourselves to be instruments in His hands.  Rhoda's baptism was amazing.  Her children, who have not been taking the lessons...yet, all came to support their mother.  And when she came up out of the water, she walked up the stairs, took the towel from us, and just starting sobbing.  Ahh!  Missionary work is so amazing!  I love Rhoda so much.  She is just one of those people who has changed my life so much, and who I will never forget.

*deep breath*

So anyways.

Other than Rhoda's baptism, which certainly set the bar pretty darn high for this week, not too much went on.  I did go on exchanges, which meant Sister Kulu, our Sister Training Leader, came here to Lake Charles to work with Sister Johnson, and I went to Orange, TX to work with her companion, Sister Rogers.  Exchanges are weird. Fun, good, and wonderful, but weird.  You just switch places for a day, and you go into all these people's homes and they just look at you like "who are you?" and you just tell people you're visiting and it's a little confusing, and then you just eat all of the other missionary's food and panic that they're going to have eaten all those cupcakes you accidentally left at your apartment rather than taking with you.  Actually no, I don't eat all of their food because I have a guilt complex.  So instead I just ate excessive amounts of edamame and peanut butter M&Ms, because I'm kind of a health nut.  And my cupcakes were totally fine, by the way.

Oh, actually I totally have a story for you guys.

Also, side note, I have been branded here as the weird missionary who still insists on saying "you guys" and not "y'all."


So the other night we were teaching Duncan, this less-active guy in the ward who we've been working with to get him coming back to church and stop smoking.  So we were reviewing with him the commandments, and he was all "we have to obey the 10 commandments" and we were like "yes, but then God has also given us other commandments that aren't in the 10 - can you think of what some of those might be?" and he starts listing off these random commandments like love everyone and pay your tithing and then he goes "oh, and no smoking...marijuana."  And I looked at him and was like "not smoking anything, Duncan - just no smoking!"  And he goes "oh, right.  Tobacco too, I guess."  Haha, it was quite entertaining.  Our lessons with Duncan are always fun, if nothing else because sometimes his crazy roommate likes to come out and sit with us and tell us all about his random marital problems and ask if we give personal counseling sessions.  Uh, nope.

But anyways, I love you all!  This work really is so amazing - and what's most incredible, is that it is all of our work.  God's whole work is to get us back there to Him, to have us all return to live with Him and with our families forever - but he isn't down here, not the way that we are!  So we have to be willing and ready and active in helping those around us realize that - realize who they are, realize their potential, and realize what really matters in this life.

Thanks for all your prayers, for your love, and for being awesome.

Sister Enright

Elder Kleinman, Sister Johnson, Rhoda, Sister Enright
Rhoda, Sister Enright
Sister Enright, Kendee, Sister Johnson
Sister Kulu and Sister Enright  on a Sonic run
District P-day at the Gulf.
Elder Roundy and jelly fish.
More crab.