Monday, July 27, 2015

Querida familia y amigos!

This week went great. The mission field is so much different than the MTC. It´s definitely taken some time to get used to the schedule and the lifestyle of a missionary. It´s great, I really do love it out here, it just takes some getting used to. Especially after the initial shock of being in a new country with a new people wears off. There's a quote that I love that says *Courage is having strength to press on, after the emotion has passed.* Wow, how true that is! Take New Year's Resolutions for example... we start out our goals with all this excitement and determination at the beginning. Then the excitement fades and so do our goals. The mission is different because you receive blessings, and I can truly feel the love that the Lord has for me as I discipline myself and work hard. So in that sense I love the mission. It's not easy and there have been days where I know I didn't give my all and it eats me up inside. As my Branch President in the MTC said: *The ONLY intelligent decision you can make on your mission, is to truly turn your heart to the Lord. Be there to do WHATEVER he asks you to do.* I´m trying to do that every day out here. It´s hard... the natural man inside me is pretty stubborn and doesn't want to do that, but my goal out here is to *put off that natural man, and become a saint.* Because I know that's the only intelligent decision I can make, and that the Lord will bless me.

I´ll get off the soap box for a sec haha. Let me tell you guys a bit about my daily life here in the mission:

Every day I get woken up by a crying cat outside of our house. Literally every day. I´m never quite sure what is happening to that cat... or why in the blazes it would be making such terrible noises at 5am... but it continues to do so. It sounds a bit like *ow...ow..OW OW...ow...OWOWOWOW.* The cats here are weird and each one increases my belief that cats are Satan's little helpers. There is this other cat that will sit up on the wall outside of our house near a water silo (I think it's called a silo). I don't see it too often, but when I do, it's only for a brief second. I will look up while I'm walking into the house at the end of the day and see it staring at me. Then when I do a double take it pulls a Batman on me and disappears. Super creepy. There is another cat that will sneak into our trash and eat the food. Luckily we have a slingshot in our house... that usually gets the job done.

Spanish is going well. I´m getting used to the accent and am able to understand the majority of conversations. My brain and my tongue are adapting pretty well to full time Spanish as well. I'ts hilarious when people find out I am American, because for some reason they seem to feel the need to translate everything they say in Spanish for me, using the small amount of terrible English they have. Even though I understood everything they said in Spanish the first time. Then I reply in Spanish and it kind of takes them off guard. haha! It reminds me of Better Off Dead: *French breeead...french tooooast....french fries...and Peru!* Haha for some reason everyone seems to feel the need to show me how much English they know. They say something to me in English like *Hello, how you are?* and look at me after like I should be super impressed. So I just smile and give them the thumbs up, and in my head I´m like *wow.. you did it buddy.* I had an investigator proceed to inform me of every bad word they knew in English the other day... super :) Haha... they thought it was cool, and I can't really get mad at them so the whole time I'm like *oh..yep..oh awesome..yep you really should'nt say that one...uh huh, great.*

This past week we sprayed the house for fleas and bed bugs, or *pulgas* as they're called here. I haven't had any problems yet, thank the heavens, but the other elders have in the past. So hopefully the pesticide will keep that blessing running strong. Then later in the week our house flooded because the drains in the bathroom clogged up. We had *caca agua* every where (as Elder Pilacios called it). Pretty disgusting, but we got it all cleaned up ok. After we finished, Elder Pilacios looked at me, smiled, and said *Ciao pulgas..ciao caca.* haha!

Today for P-day we went hiking up on this sweeet mini mountain. It was actually super cool and the view was amazing. It was so refreshing. We stopped and ate lunch and sang hymns at the top. Super cool experience.

*La Serranita.* Where we hiked.

 Elder Moraes, me, Sister Chesler and her companion

Selfie with Elder Pilacios

 Such a cool view!

So beautiful! Reminds me of North Carolina

Everything is going well and I´m trying to work hard. There are a lot of missionaries that are unfortunately pretty lazy. It's sad to see that there are so many wasting the Lord's time and it takes extra effort and determination to set an example and not be one of them. I never want to end up like that on my mission. Two years is not that long and it would be a crime to waste it. The Lord promises that if we serve with unwearyingness (Heleman 15 I think?), then He will bless us forever. I love what Mark Tycksen told me before I left: *You only have two years to serve and the rest of your life to think about it. No regrets.* I want to be able to return with honor and know that I didn't hold anything back from the Lord.

I love this work, and I love serving others. It tears me apart to see people reject the gospel and it takes a lot of effort to not take them by the shoulders and shake them saying *Do you not understand what you're missing out on??* The Gospel makes me so happy, and I want everyone to have that same happiness. I know that if we are obedient, the Lord will guide us to those who are prepared to hear the word. What a joyful word it is!

I love you all. Mosiah 2:41

And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.

Elder Jolley

P-day Futbol

Celebrating a birthday with the Liquin Family

Cool tag pic. Everyone needs at least one.

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