Monday, March 28, 2016

Week #13 - Transfers this week, getting a new companion, and Baptism!


Everythings still going great. Yesterday, being Easter, just felt like a normal day for us. It really didn´t feel special or anything, just another day as a missionary. But it sounds like you guys had a good Easter!

But looks like I don´t need to write you guys anymore, Hermana Malva can do it. Haha no just kidding but yeah the baptism happened and I had the opportunity to baptize which was an awesome experience. Also in Thursday it was Chile vs Argentina so we decided to wear our Chile stuff. It was pretty awesome. But the bbq is super rare and I think it was my first one. It was really good steak, but that doesn´t happen a lot trust me.

Haha I thought that I told everyone that I wouldn´t be back for 2 years but I guess they forgot. When I´m thinking about missionary work and am focused I don´t have any hard time with missing things of the past but when I think about it yeah I definitely miss it. Definitely miss the video games, music, and movies. It is pretty hard. Last night we went to one of our investigators houses so that Elder Villegas could say his goodbyes and take pĂ­ctures and they were watching the new Deadpool movie. Man I really miss movies. But no it really isn´t that bad, I don´t have to worry about the old life at all.

Yeah I saw those snow pictures. That´s crazy, end of March and all that snow. Definitely wish that we got snow or even rain. I like the cold weather so hopefully that the weather will change soon and will be a little more cold here but I highly doubt it because it is always hot here.

Yeah transfers are this week. This transfer was 7 weeks because of the change in the MTC´s of 3 weeks now instead of 2 weeks, but they are usually every 6 weeks. Usually a trainer stays with his hijito for 2 transfers for training so we weren´t expecting a transfer. But he has been here for 6 months so I guess his time is up here in Gabriela Mistral (this is our sector and ward not sure if I had mentioned this before). Elder Villegas is going to Arica as a Zone Leader right now though which is pretty awesome. But as I am writing this right now we are still together. He leaves tonight at 9:30 and my new companion arrives at 9:45. I don´t really know him all that well I only know his name and where he is from. His name is Elder Alcantara and he is from Spain. He was born in Peru but only was in Peru for 3 years so yeah he is from Spain. He has 7 months in the mission. And that´s just about all I know about him. Hopefully we will work well together and that he´ll be a good trainer to finish my training. But the thing is, is that he is going to be new to this area as well, I will be the one to have to make plans and to guide the sector which should be interesting and hard. I think that I will definitely learn a lot from this. Should be a good humbling experience.

We actually went on the hike this morning which was pretty cool. Was really, really crazy but was cool. A lot more happened that I won´t say right now, it is a story for after the mission... But don´t worry everything is good now and I have pictures and even a video that I will try to send to you guys. Hopefully the file of the video won´t be too big to where I can´t send. But yeah it was fun and I definitely learned a ton from it.

Thanks for sharing D y C 11:12-13. It was something that I needed for today, thanks! But I´ll try to read that talk one day when I have time to do so.

EDITORS NOTE: This is the talk that I shared with Jordan.

Your story in Tahoe is so true. Happens a lot to missionaries everywhere in the world. Especially here...

So we had zone conference in Thursday with President Dalton. Now we are studying lesson 1 about the restoracion(I forgot how to spell it in english) for 30 days straight and practicing with our companions everyday. I didn´t really realize how powerful the first lesson about the restoracion of the gospel through Joseph Smith. It is super powerful, we watched a video of an example from a conference with a ton of different apostoles. Elder Cook was being taught by these two men about lesson 1 and even Elder Cook felt the spirit super strong and cried a little. Even though he has probably heard this lesson thousands of times. So for the next 30 days our focus is on studying lesson 1 and nothing more to become more powerful teachers because lesson 1 is the most powerful of them all. I know that the church of Jesus Christ is true and I know that through Joseph Smith it was restored. The story of Joseph Smith and the first vision is so powerful and can bring anyone to the knowledge of the truth.

Will definitely miss you as well for the Priesthood session of conference. But I can´t wait for conference, there is a room for gringos in the stake center to listen to conference is english haha. Should be good!

Love you guys so much! I´m always praying for you guys! May the Lord bless you mucho!

Elder Newkirk



Hike in Antofagasta with Elder Villegas

View from the top of the hike! WOW what a view!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Week#12 3 months into the mission!

Today´s been good. Went and did visa stuff for my companion, cleaned the house, played ping pong, ate empanadas, but didn´t have the chance to go hiking today. I´m hoping soon but I´m not sure when. I actually have the exact opposite of great pictures, I don´t have any. I think I´m going to not send all the pictures that I have in one week but start to spread them out a little more so I actually have some pictures to send every week. But yeah sorry, don´t have any pictures for today. 

This last week was great, not a ton happened but it has been good. One thing that happened is that the baptism on Saturday will be happening which is awesome. So the story is on Saturday we went to visit the family to see if Soledad (the girl who is getting baptized) was ready to be baptized for this Saturday. She said she still didn´t know and still had some doubts. But yesterday after church something changed for her, I have no clue what happened but she now wants to be baptized this Saturday. So yeah we have a baptism on Saturday! 

With the question of if we made some solid contacts, yes I believe that we have. One thing that Elder Cook said when he came to the Antofagasta mission before I arrived is that the key for this mission is through the teens. I think this week we contacted 5 teens and I think they are all curious. A lot of the teens have really good questions and are searching for the truth. With the adults they have strong beliefs in whatever they believe in. One of the teens this week actually speaks a little bit of English, he was a foreign exchange student who went to New Zealand and learned some English for 4 months. We only talked with him outside of his door, but talked with him for a good 30 minutes, he is super cool and also plays Hearthstone haha. But all the teens that we contacted are awesome and definitely are key. They are key because after the teens join the church the parents usually see a change in their kid and want to know why. So that is when the family opens up and we can start teaching all the family. It is really great and cool to see happen!

I guess there is one interesting story that happened to me this week. We went to try and contact someone to see if they were home. They weren´t home but the father was. He said that he wasn´t interested at all in any religion so we told him that was ok and that we wanted to leave him with a pass a long card. He said that he didn´t believe in anything that we gave away either. He started a conversation with us on how there isn´t any sin in this world and a lot of different weird stuff that he was just trying to confuse us with. I really didn´t understand all that was being said but my companion explained everything after, because I still don´t understand everything in Spanish. But yeah basically the conversation ended with him and us saying see ya in judgement day, shook hands, and left. So yeah that was pretty interesting. 

Yeah mom told me about Hermana Malva looking mom up and stuff on Facebook. She has a son right now out on a mission serving in Peru, but all of their family is awesome.

How proselyte works for us is if we have a name and a house we go and visit. We have lists of old registries of people that we can visit, references, people we contact in the streets. But as long as we have a name and a house we visit the person to see if they want to listen to the gospel. It really just depends on the area and everything on how you contact people. We don´t do a lot of contacting people on the street. We usually just go and knock on houses of people that we have names for. But yeah we don´t set stuff up in the street or anything like that.

Yeah we have ward council after church on Sundays, when we can we go to them. Like this Sunday we couldn´t go because we had a meeting with someone but the ward mission leader was there to talk for the missionaries. We also have meetings with the ward mission leader every week which is great too. 

I haven´t gotten too many messages from others but from a few people yeah I´ve gotten messages.

Things from my studies, great question. Haha no I´ve just been reading through the Book of Mormon, Preach my Gospel, and Jesus the Christ. Preach my Gospel I have been studying how to be a better missionary and also how to teach lessons better. In the Book of Mormon I have been learning a lot about my question of how to become a better missionary. And in Jesus the Christ I have been learning a ton more about the life of Jesus and the time of him. Jesus the Christ is a great book. But honestly I don´t have anything super specific and don´t have all my books on me right now. 

For companion study you read pages from the mission manual, plan lessons for the day, there is a booklet for new missionaries and trainers that we do, and also do practices with lessons and inviting people to do things. That is basically companion study in a nutshell. 

We have a set schedule for studying. We have one hour of personal study everyday, right now we have 2 hours for companion study because we have to do the first 12 weeks manual for new missionaries and trainers, and about 1 hour for language study. Depends on the day how much time we actually have but this is what is scheduled to be. 

Sounds like it will be a busy week for you guys but sounds like is will be fun!

Yeah I heard about Grandpa O, scary. But yeah it sounds like he is doing better though! 
That´s also good that Grandma N is getting better and is able to walk around with a cane now.
Why did everything happen when I left? Haha
But I will definitely be praying for them both!

Oh one thing that I forgot to mention is that if you haven´t seen the video for Easter that the church has put together you should. It is really good and you can just find it on, it is only 2 minutes long. We have been sharing this video with a lot of different people, it is really good!

Love you guys a lot! Hope you guys have a great week!

Elder Newkirk

EDITORS NOTE: We are sharing some pics that Sister Malva in Antofagasta sent to us. Technology is incredible now days. 

Elder Newkirk and Elder Villegas eating lunch

Elder N and V's mamita who does their cooking and laundry.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Week# 11 weekly update from Elder Newkirk

Hey! Everything´s is still going great! Yeah you guys are now 4 hours behind instead of 5 because I don´t believe there is a time change here like there is in the States. Haha I wouldn´t call the weather nice, it is hot everyday. But is definitely is more humid heat, it isn´t dry at all that I have noticed. I haven´t had to use lotion at all and my hands have never been this smooth as they are now. But it might be a completely different story in different areas of the mission.

This week was pretty good. Yesterday we had Stake Conference and for this conference we got to listen to the President of the 12 Apostoles who gave a transmission to all of Chile. It was super cool because he gave his talk to us in Spanish, it didn´t have to be translated like other talks. I had no idea that he knew Spanish like he does haha. He talked about the importances of the commandments and especially tithing and temples. It was a really good talk for the people of Chile.

About the baptism, we should know this week if it is going to happen on the 26th or not. She doesn´t know whether she wants to be baptized or not. She is 14 but a lot of her family are members who just became active again in the church. The funny thing about people in Chile is when we meet them, and this is what happened with this family too, is we don´t know if they are members of the church or not. When Elder Villegas and the companion before me started teaching this family they had no clue that they were members. In the second lesson they asked them to be baptized but they responded that they were already members of the church. It happens a lot here, there are a ton of less actives. The statistic here in Chile is every 1 in 10 members are active. But yeah she is a part of this family but doesn´t know if she wants to be baptized or not. She likes the church and has attended a lot with her family but doesn´t know, but I think that she will. But yeah that´s the update on the baptism.

Yes, I got my haircut from Sebastian, he did a great job! I was actually surprised because he didn´t use fancy equipment or anything. But I am super picky about my hair I know, but he did good. He told me this week that he wants to open his own barber shop in California near the Warriors stadium and whenever the Warrior´s play he would close up shop and go to the game haha. But first he has to finish high school. He left high school after the first year and is going back but during the night. He is honestly the best, he also comes with us at times which is awesome!

I got my Valentines package finally haha. I honestly don´t think it takes that long but it honestly just depends. Elder Villegas told me that one of his old companions received a package for Halloween in December so I honestly think that it just depends.

Haha you guys are already thinking about the Skype in May, you guys are more trunkee than I am! Trunkee is when a missionary misses home or thinks about home a lot or about the future of leaving the mission or anything.

My shoes have definitely taken a beating, I´ve just been wear the slip on shoes pretty much all the time. I use the other shoes when I go to church or to conferences or anything nicer when I have to wear a suit because these shoes are a lot more clean and not beat up like my other ones. 

Our church building isn´t big but it is nice and works well for everyone. It is definitely a lot smaller than the home ward, but the Stake building is actually really nice and more like the home ward.

For teaching actually lessons we usually get around 15 lessons a week. But is honestly depends on the week and if people want to hear from us or not. We talk to a lot of different people in the streets but it really isn´t an actual lesson.

The question about my Spanish again... Haha. No spanish is definitely getting a lot easier. I still have a hard time understanding some of the people here though. There are some people who actually pronounce their words and I can understand the concept of what they are saying, not all of the words but the concept. But there are others who don´t pronounce anything and I can´t understand, I might be able to pick out a few words here or there but I have no clue what they are trying to say. I´m getting a lot more confident in speaking Spanish now though, I can get my point across mas o menos. But once I start to understand what everyone is saying it will get a lot easier from there. I definitely know that at points that I have the gift of tongues, there is absolutely no other way that I would be able to learn Spanish this fast. I took 3 years of Spanish through school and remember nothing of it. I have learned probably 100x more Spanish in 2 1/2 months than I did in 3 years of Spanish in school. It is really crazy!

So one thing that I learned for myself last night is that our sector is pretty dangerous especially in the night time. My companion has told me that our sector is pretty dangerous but I never believed him because I hadn´t seen anything really dangerous. But last night right outside out house someone got robbed. The guy who got robbed was in a wheelchair. The robber knocked him out of his wheelchair and robbed him. This happened during our planning for the next day and we heard a lot of shouting going on outside. It was pretty crazy. Also Elder Villegas told me that on new years there was a huge fight outside with columbians and chileans with knives at like 5 am. So yeah out area is a little dangerous but it´s fun! Don´t worry about me!

Love you guys so much!

Elder Newkirk

This is the only photo that I have to send this week. Next week I think that we are going on a hike that I will get some really cool pictures of Antofagasta! So next week I should have some more to send. But this is a pirate ship that we found today, they do tours in it! I really wish that we could be able to do it but it´s a rule not to get in boats or to swim or whatever the rule is. But the pirate ship is super cool!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Week #10 singing solo "Happy birthday" in English (funny story inside)

This week went really well. We have appointments almost every day. Sometimes we don´t, but most of the days we are able to teach. We actually found a lot of people who want to listen to the Gospel which is great. One thing that is really hard for people is going to Church on Sunday´s. Our church starts at 3pm which is different from pretty much the rest of the wards in this mission. Usually Church here starts at 10am, but our ward starts at 3pm. A lot of people work on Sunday´s, a lot. There are a lot of people who are ready to be baptized and progress in the Church but they can´t go to Church. To be baptized there are 3 requirements, have the desire and testimony, get taught all the lessons, and go to Church 3 times. A lot of people have the first two requirements but the last one is the hardest for people. 

Spiritual experiences happen every single day that I notice. Another thing that Elder Bednar promised us in this conference, to the missionaries, is that we have the ability as missionaries to see small miracles that not even members would be even able to see. And I have definitely been able to see these small miracles, they are everywhere. One thing that happened this week is that I might have the opportunity the end of this month to be able to baptize, but we´ll see. I´ll talk more about this if I feel like the baptism will happen haha. But honesly not much has happened that has been super significant or anything that I can remember being significant this week. Sorry I need to be more spiritual in my emails and share more things that I have learned. I´ll try to make it better next week.

I´ve emailed Trenton a little bit, not too much but I have been able to read his blogs. Sounds like he is having a completely different experience than I am haha. But sounds like he is doing really well and having a great time in his mission. And yeah, I have been able to see the posts that you post to the blog! Thanks!

So as far as meetings go, we have a district meeting every Tuesday. There are only 4 of us in our district. Me, Elder Villegas, Elder Abraham, and Elder Jennings(the district leader). And on the second Tuesday of the month we have a meeting with the zone. And every 3 months there is the big zone conference with President Dalton. The conference is this month. He travels to all the areas of the mission to give this conference. All the missionaries in the area go to this and it just depends who is all the the area. Elder Wild and Elder Jennings are both in my area and I have been able to see them once. We all met in the same chapel for the conference with Elder Bednar so I do get to have the opportunity to see them every once in a while.

Everythings going good with Elder Villegas, we get a long really well he is a great companion/trainer.

Fast and testimony meeting was great, I don´t think there was a time of silence. Sacrament meeting had about 51 people in it and was pretty good. This was the last weekend of the summer for most people. A majority of the kids went back to school today so hopefully next week we will have more people since everyone will be in school and at home. 

Haha yeah I kind of know a lot that has been happening in the NBA. There is a recent convert who got baptized like a month and a half ago who is way into basketball as well. He is a fan of Golden State and shows me standings and scores every once in a while. He also showed me some highlights of the Warriors beating the Thunder twice this last week...... Also showed me some of the dunks from the dunk contest this year. Holy Cow some of the dunks were insane. But he is 18 years old and has a ton of tattoos and what not but he is awesome. Oh his name is Sebastian, but we actually played a little basketball with him today and I think we are planning to get our haircut by him today for free. He wants to own his own haircut salon but he does ours for free so we´ll see how good he is...

So I live towards the north of Antofagasta. our sector is street Humachuco(don´t know how to spell it) until Heros of the Concepcion. But I don´t remember the other 2 streets that our sector goes to. A lot of dirt and every house has a gate. Feet are holding up, a lot of walking every day. We walk to everywhere in our sector, but if we want to leave our sector on our Pdays we take the bus or a taxi. The bus is a lot cheaper but a lot slower. So it just depends on how much time and money we have. Shoes are holding up as well, let´s just hope they last the next 2 years, but we´ll see. I honestly don´t think that they will. Probably around a year or so. But everythings going fine right now.

Well you guys have fun in Florida in April. Sounds like it will be a lot of fun and that you guys will have a lot to be able to do. 

But yeah the pig blood story is pretty funny. No we were just walking in the streets, and this street is aparently known for the drugs and is just a bad street. But we were walking and he stopped us to talk and he was completely out of it. He was not in this world. He actually came up to us later in the day and asked us the same questions. He completely forgot our old conversation and just remembers the guys in white shirts and ties. It´s funny how an outfit completely changes who you are. If we are walking with normal clothes on and saying hi to people they usually just look at us or keep going. But when we wear our "church" clothes they repond and say hi and everything. 

Another thing that happened to me last night which was pretty funny that I´d like to share is that we got invited after church to go to a birthday party. It was the birthday party of Aylean who is a member but her soon to be husband(Oliver), who we have been teaching and who we are waiting on to get married to be baptized, isn´t a member. They are both awesome. They are in their early 20´s and have a little baby girl who is so cute. We were also able to give the baby a baby blessing yesterday too, me, my companion, and the bishop which was cool. But yeah it was her birthday but they got me to sing happy birthday, solo, in English which was pretty funny. 

So we go to this Negocio, which is a store in a house, to use the internet. I wouldn´t call it an internet cafe but they have nice computers and decent internet and they´re close so we just use them. It is also pretty cheap to use the internet. It is 500 pesos for one hour. We usually use 2 hours so it is only 1000 pesos. 

And also about the mail it works the same in every area of the mission. The Zone Leaders every month travel to Antofagasta to get mail for everyone in their zone. So I will get mail the second Tuesday of every month. Also since I´m in Antofagasta if I want to I can travel to the office on Pday to pick up mail too. But I´ll probably just always wait for the Zone Leaders to give out mail because the office is kind of far and we have to take either a bus or a taxi to get there...

Got to end it here. Love you all!

Elder Newkirk

EDITORS note: Elder Newkirk also emailed Hailey, and I just wanted to share what he wrote to her, cause I thought it was really good. It may help someone else!

One of my recommendations for you as a missionary (not as a brother) if you haven´t read the Book of Mormon all the way through is to read it. One thing that you guys probably didn´t know is that before my mission I hadn´t read through the Book of Mormon all the way... How terrible am I, but I have read through it now and I now I know why people always say to read it. It really is an amazing book and has strenthened my testimony a lot. Or reading your stuff for seminary is great too. All scripture is really good and helps with everything in life. But I expect you go to seminary every morning and just love it! Right? 

For us who have grown up in the church we don´t really see the importance of these things in life because we have always had it. But now being out on my mission I know that the Gospel changes lives completely and is such a blessing in our lives. It can help with any problems that you have or any stuggles that this life brings. I know that this life is hard and there is a lot more than just the Gospel. Trust me I miss a lot of the things of the world, especially video games and music. But I know that it might be hard to go to seminary or it might be hard to go to a YM thing(or whatever you girls do) or to go to Church or whatever it may be. But I know that if you take just a small part of our lives every day to the Gospel you will be blessed. I promise this to you! I love you soo much and I want the best for you in everything, in normal life, in school, in cheer, and in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Love you so much and miss you!

Elder Newkirk in front of the mission office

Nike Chile jacket

Nike Chile jacket