Monday, June 27, 2016

week #26 - First week in Taltal


Well everything's been going great here in TalTal. I have been loving TalTal and it has been really chill. Definitely different than Antofagasta. Antofa was a little crazy.. I have already met most of the members here in TalTal and they are all really cool. There are some great families here in TalTal. Church was actually really great. President Dalton actually was here in TalTal for the weekend because he loves TalTal. This was President Dalton´s last weekend as mission president and he spent it here in TalTal. Our new mission president comes in this week on Wednesday. Should be interesting how everything will work out with a new president. 

Since TalTal is a branch and the Stake of TalTal is the mission, meaning that the stake president here is the mission president, the missionaries can have callings. The callings that the missionaries have here are counselors in Elders Quorum and one of the Elders is Secretary to the Branch President. But yeah here is a normal setup with branch president, counselors, elders quorum, relief society, young mens, young womens, and primary. The membership here is actually really good. It is just about the same as my other ward in Antofagasta but a little better. Here there are actual leadership and the leaders here are awesome. There is also a little bit of priesthood to back up the leadership as well. The attendance is usually anywhere from 40 to the highest of 70. This sunday it was like 56 so the membership here is actually really good and I am loving it so far. 

My new companion is good. Elder Fernandez is a little different from all my other companions. Well every companion is different haha. He is the district leader here but he is super good. He works hard but follows the rules pretty strictly not like all my other companions. But it is good that he is my companion because it is something that I need to learn to do as well. But we have been working well together and I think that we´ll have a lot of success here in TalTal together. But yeah all my companions have been latinos which has been good for me so that I can learn spanish and everything. 

Also something else that I mentioned last week is that there are 4 missionaries here in TalTal. And the other group of missionaries are also really cool. It is Elder Torrico and Elder Boyack. Elder Torrico is actually training Elder Boyack right now and Elder Boyack only has like a week now in Chile. It is crazy to think that I was like that just a few months ago. And now in a few months and can understand a lot and be able to speak. It´s pretty crazy to think about. Also something that I´d like to mention is that Elder Torrico is from Argentina, who lost to Chile yesterday in the copa america, so we´ve been giving him crap all day and as well as a lot of other people haha. We actually didn´t have the chance to watch the finals, being Sunday, but we definitely heard everything haha. It was so loud and after Chile won, people got in their cars and drove around town honking their horns haha. It was pretty crazy outside.  

Exchanges with the Zone Leaders from Chaneral is every transfer. So every 6 weeks. There is also zone training in Chaneral every month. And also in a few week we´ll have to travel to Copiapo to have interviews with the new president and to get to know him which is even further. To get to Chaneral is like 2-3 hours in bus and to get to Copiapo is like 4-5 hours. Should be a lot of traveling in Tur-Bus this transfer but should be fun!

Yeah in the picture with Hermana Malva the hat was a gift from Nico. It´s a really cool Puma hat! They were an awesome family and I will definitely miss them. But there are also some great families here in TalTal. 

Sounds like your guys´ summer isn´t slowing down at all but sounds like a lot of fun. Definitely good that you guys have things to do for the summer time!

Yeah we have a mamita here in TalTal. She is the mamita for food and clothes as well for us. The mamita and our papito, her husband, are super awesome! They are from Columbia and the mamita cooks super good food. Their family is a lot of fun. They are a young couple with 2 daughters. Definitely a better transfer of mamitas. Not going to lie but this is a ton better than a 80 year old mamita from Chile. I was definitely getting a little tired of her food... 

Also the house here is pretty good. It is an actually house this time and we´re not living above the mamita without a fridge or kitchen or anything. The house that we are in is alright. It isn´t the best but it´s alright. It has a kitchen and even has a laundry for us to do a little laundry when we need to which is super nice. I actually don´t have like any pictures I really haven´t had the opportunity. But I´ll have to take some for the next week so you guys can see the house and see a little bit of TalTal. And of course that I took my avenger sheets here to TalTal!

One thing that I do have from TalTal that you guys can watch is a video of some RAIN! It actually rained here this weekend, friday night! It will probably be a first and a last that I will see here in Northern Chile. It dumped pretty hard, it woke us up in the middle of the night. Then the next day we went out early in the morning to help people and their houses because the houses here in Northern Chile aren´t prepared for the rain so there was a little damage. But our house was fine, only a little water entered. But it was pretty crazy to acutally see some rain.

But yeah that´s all I got this week and next week I´ll try and get some more pictures and stuff for you guys! 

Also about p-days here... There really isn´t anything to do here in TalTal.... The p-days down here should but pretty boring unless we plan to do something. I think there is a hike or something and there is also a huge astrology center here like you mentioned last week. It is about 1 hour out of town and you need a group to go down there to check it out. We also need to get permission from the mission president so we´ll see if I´ll get the chance to go down there are check it out. I hope that I will!!!

Love you guys a lot and hope you guys have a great week and safe travels!!!

Elder Newkirk

Monday, June 20, 2016

week#25 - Cambios - Transfer to the City of TalTal


Well I have really, really short time to write this week. So yeah I got cambios this week and left this morning to Taltal! Taltal is like 3 hours south of Antofagasta. It is a really small coast town. It seems pretty chill and awesome so far. But yeah the town is really small and here there is only a rama, not a ward. I´m actually really excited about the transfer. Here there are 4 missionaries and all the missionaries have responsibilities in the church in the rama which should be fun and a great learning experience. Yeah I don´t know too much about Taltal yet but I´ll let you know more about it next pday when I have more time to actually write.

So the baptism this Saturday got postponed because of problems that the family were having. It´s sad that I won´t be able to see Juliana baptised but hey it´s all good I know that she will be baptised. But yeah it was good saying bye to all the families from the ward. Sad to go but I was ready for a change. 

Yeah the travel was fine today. Taltal like I said is only 3 hours from Antofagasta so it wasn´t bad at all. I also traveled with other missionaries who were heading more south to Copiapo and Vallenar so I was able to ride with them. One of them that I rode with was Elder Joos which was pretty fun! My new companion here is Elder Fernandez from Peru! He is the district leader here in Taltal, so for intercambios I´m going to have to go to chaneral for intercambios. 

Sounds like your guys summer sounds pretty busy but like a lot of fun! Hope that you guys have good and safe travels!

So with the rule about watching soccer is with a investigator but the game has to be playing when we are out. So if the game is past like 10pm then we won´t be able to watch it. The games here have been starting really late so we haven´t been able to watch a ton. But yeah I have seen a lot and heard a lot about the Copa and how Chile destroyed Mexico 7-0!!! But yeah USA has a chance to play against Chile in the finals! If Chile and the USA win their next game they will be playing against each other in the finals.

But yeah I´ve only been here in Taltal for a little time and don´t have really any time to write so I´m keeping this really short. I´ll be writing a lot more next week and more about the sector and everything. But from what it seems, it is pretty chill and really cool.

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

Elder Newkirk

great family! Sister Malva and family!

Monday, June 13, 2016

week #24 -- 6 months out on the mission - year and a half left.


Everythings been going great. Nothing too much happened this week. This week has actually been pretty slow. A lot of walking around because there haven´t been too many people home. It seemed like everytime that we knocked on a door no one was home.. But this week as well we have been preparing a baptism for this Saturday. This Saturday Juliana is going to get baptized. Juliana is 11 but practically all her family are members but inactive. We reactivated her mom these past few months and have been teaching and preparing Juliana to be baptized. These past 2 weeks as well we have had one of our investigators attending church. He was one of those investigators that we were thinking about just dropping because of how long that he has been an investigator and hasn´t progressed at all. I would have never thought that he would progress. But these last two week he has actually attended all 3 hours of church and has been reading the BoM. It´s awesome to see the Lord change the hears of people. His name is Jorge Malatesta. He is like 64 and doesn´t have a huge religious background as well as the rest of his family. I hope that after he joins the church that his family will also be able to follow his example. 

Yeah the ward activity was actually really fun. Yeah brownies are pretty popular down here but they aren´t as good as they are in the states. The chocolate here really isn´t that good. For the karaoke there wasn´t anything in English so I didn´t get the chance to sing, no. But I´ll send you the link or the information for the videos and photos that I have taken. 

Yeah I´m expecting to leave this next week, so let´s see where I´ll go. I have all the mission to choose from. I´m just hoping that I won´t have to take a huge bus ride to my next sector. I´ve heard a lot of different things about Tur-Bus. Tur-Bus is the company that the missionaries travel with around the mission, so Tur-Bus is pretty popular among the missionaries. But I haven´t heard good things about it...

Yeah I´ve heard and seen a lot of the copa america. USA actually left their group in the first position! They will be playing Ecuador for the Cuarto Finals. But we actually got permission from President Dalton to watch the Chile games from the Copa! But the catch is that we have to watch it with an investigator or watch it with members who invite non members to the game. So we have been watching the Chile games! Tomorrow Chile plays as well! Vamos Chile!!

Yeah I got the pictures that Mom sent me. Looks like you guys are having a fun time in Boise! That´s actually a really cool story. I haven´t heard of missionaries returning to their first area, but that´s an awesome story. I don´t know if I have had any stories like that in my mission yet but I do feel like I am called where I need to be called at a specific time. I know that every missionary has someone waiting for them in the areas that they will serve in. I have had a lot of different experiences though on how we meet people and find them to teach. The Lord definitely does put people in our path every single day. It really just depends on us and how we react in the situations. I definitely see God´s hand in his work daily! 

Awesome bishopric. Brother Sadler was an awesome temple prep teacher! That´s also cool that you got to keep your calling!

I actually really enjoy this new schedule! It feels like we have a lot more time in the mornings to do things. I also like getting in a little bit earlier. Because now that it has been getting cold at night, once it hits dark everyone goes inside to have once, or tea time. Usually the nights are really hard so actually this change has been good. It´s been a little weird getting used to and has been hard getting up at 6:30. Because in the mornings it has been cold and I just want to stay in bed and not get up haha. But no it´s been good!

Yeah I received the last package, I got it this week. Thanks for all the photos, they are great! All the food is practically gone as well haha. Hope that I get my birthday package by my birthday. Guess we´ll find out.

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

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

week #23 -- Weeks flying by.. Fun ward activity last week


Like you said sounds like it was a sad but decent week that you guys had. Sounds like you had a great experience on Wednesday though with the prayer. That´s awesome that you did that and that Grandma asked you to say one. Definitely a hard experience though. I also would like to say that I fasted for you guys on Wednesday, not to be prideful or anything like that. But I know that even though that I´m here in Chile I know that the Lord is blessing you guys. But I also want to testify with all my heart that this isn´t the end and that God has a perfect plan. Something that my mission president wrote me this week after I told him about my Grandpa dying was this " I testify to you that he will have the opportunity to hear the gospel in the spirit world and accept it, there is a lot of hope there, and your efforts here as a missionary will actually have a great effect on his willingness to hear and accept the gospel there...God has a plan for each of his children individually so that each and everyone has the greatest opportunity possible to accept the gospel and return to Him! Those opportunities do not end with death. " He also told me to make sure that his work gets done in the temple. And I would love to do that with you after my mission! 

Sounds like all that you guys did this week was really beautiful for Grandpa. Also all the photos that you send to me were cool and the slide show as well. Was definitely hard to watch the slide show, and I also noticed that you guys put some of my photos from the mission in there! About the cremation.. I´ll let you guys choose for me, I´m fine with whatever you want to do. And it´s fine if you send me the picture. Definitely sad that I missed it all, definitely wish that I could have been with you guys, but thanks for all the photos and for sharing with me what happened!

Well about my week this week... Well it was good as always! The weeks are just flying by for me now and I´ve heard that it gets worse. This Friday we had a ward activity that I´ll send a quick photo of that I took. I also have videos of the activity but the one drive will have to wait until I actually have time to put everything on it. The activity was really fun. We did a master chef international. Every family brought different foods from all over the world. There was like Chile, Argentina, United States(they brought brownies), China, Japan, and a lot more. And afterwards we did karaoke, which I have videos of. It was a pretty fun activity! 

Other than that this week has just been visiting people and finding new people to teach. There has been a lot of good progress in a lot of our investigators which has been really awesome. I´m thinking that I´ll be leaving this sector in these next 2 week so I probably won´t be able to see all the success of my investigators but hey that´s how the mission is! 

Also this week the copa america started which I have been hearing a lot about. But all the games here start at like 10pm because they are playing in the States. Go USA! Also this week President changed our schedule. We now have a normal schedule of 6:30am-9pm not 7:30am-10pm. It has been a little weird getting used to the change but I actually like this schedule better. 

Well that´s practically been my week. Love you guys so much and know that I´m praying for you guys always! Hope you guys have a great week!

Elder Newkirk

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

week #22 -- Intercambios with Elder Joos

Wow really sad news this week. Super sad that Grandpa passed away this morning... I´m more at a loss of words more than anything. But I do know out of experience here in the mission is that God does have a plan for each and every single one of us. Here in Antofagasta there are a ton of different people with sicknesses and it is really hard for a lot of people here. Also in the ward there are a lot of people that were like Grandpa with a lot of different health problems. I have had plenty of opportunities to talk with a lot of different people with these problems. Actually today after P-day we have a meeting with Hermano Luna who is super sick and the doctors sent him home this last week (when doctors send people home that usually means that there isn´t anything more that they can do to help). But I know that the comforting message of the Gospel can help. And that through Christ there is more after this life. This definitely isn´t the end and this life is just a small step in the eternities. I know that God´s plan is absolutely perfect. Definitely a great idea to head to the temple, I know that you can find answers there and can feel peace and comfort that you need. I know that these times must be really hard for you and also for our family. But as a member of the church and with the knowledge that you have you can really help out your family at this time. To share with them this plan that God has. Just know that God is with us each step of the way and we can always turn to Him for help in these hard times. 

Everything´s still good here in the mission. Not a ton happened this week, just working hard and trying to find some new people to teach. We have some great investigators but with schedules here in Antofagasta is makes it really hard for the people to actually progress. Everyone here works a ton and has absolutely no time and the time they do have they want to use it for something else, like family. The mission definitely isn´t easy that´s for sure. 

This week we actually contacted a mamita from the year 1988 in the mission viƱa del mar. She never was a member of the church and has always been Catholic. She was showing us pictures of the missionaries that she was the mamitas to. Super old pictures haha. The missionaries that wrote to her said that they hope that she progresses in the gospel. And I know that now is the chance that she has to do so. She is like 80 years old but it is never to late to hear the gospel. This just assures to me again that God has a plan for everyone to hear the gospel, whether it be in this life or in the life to come. It was a really cool experience to find her haha. 

Also this week I had an intercambio with Elder Joos(our district leader). I was working with him in his sector for a day. He is actually really cool and we made an awesome contact. We were just knocking on doors looking for a random name and we actually met someone really cool. His name is Wilson and when he opened the door he was playing NBA 2k16 so we sat and talked to him about basketball while he was playing. He acutally travels around Chile with teams playing basketball. He plays center and he is this really tall big black dude. It was pretty awesome to talk with him and his experiences with traveling around playing with teams. He showed us some pictures as well. It is super rare to come across people here who acutally like basketball so it was pretty awesome. Just wish that he was in my sector haha.

Thanks for those 2 talks as well!

But yeah my letter this week is going to be short as well sorry. Just know that I´ll be praying as well as fasting this week for you guys! I know that you can find peace in the gospel and that everything has a purpose. 

I love you guys so much!

Elder Newkirk

Picture from the BBQ from last week.