Thursday, October 31, 2013

Old Colonia

Everything looks like so much fun! I cant believe how much stuff is going on. You are really just in your own world here. Its hard to think about Utah and normal life still going on. Life here is doing pretty good, its getting pretty hot though and during the night its pretty chilly.

We have a store very similar to an American store where we can buy quite a bit. The problem is that we live in THE most expensive area in the mission. Our monthly money is never enough to get through the month because we have to travel by bus about twice a week for District Meetings and Pdays. Its hard to live within our limits because we buy the food everyday that we need for that day. We basically have a huge lunch and then something small when we get back to the house at night.
There really isnt much of Halloween here. There are a couple stores with some stuff but its not that big. The people here are pretty lazy and laid back. Super laid back. They just drink mate and sit around. So not much of a Halloween feel going on here, but the package will be happily recieved!
The area is doing pretty good, we had our highest church attendence yesturday. 24.
We are making progress though. The people for the most part are super nice and will just talk to you, so we talk to a pretty good amount of people, just cant quite get them interested in the gospel because they cant understand anything not Catholic. Darn those catholics. Good people though.
My spanish is coming along pretty well though. I understand close to 90% of conversations unless we are talking to some of the old people that have lived here their whole lives and it just sounds like drunk mumbling. My speaking is still getting there, just going to take some time.

We went to old school Colonia this morning for a bit of sightseeing and it was sooo cool! This place is so old and right on the beach, but its crazy to think that it is just a river. From the point you can see the skyline of Buenos Aires across the river. Its crazy. I will send you some pictures of it.
Love you all and love hearing how well everything is going!
Elder Degn.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Buen Dia de Rosario!

Buen Dia de Rosario!

It really sounds like you are all doing so well and that everything is really humming! Mom I would like to say that I wish I was there to help you with all this de-junking, then I have a flashback nightmare of Hannahs room, so sorry but good luck! Oh and I like your new glasses, finally accepting the elementry school teacher role:) But this week has been nuts. Rosario is a pretty tough place becasue there are so many old people. They dont want to change very much because they have lived this long and been fine with what they have. It is really a chore to find those people that are willing to make the change. Oh and no, we have no one to do anything for us. We cook everything. So if you could send me some pretty cheap and easy recipies, I would be most grateful. We eat one big meal a day (almuerzo) then have cereal for breakfast and some kind of flour cake for dinner. Dulce de leche is cheap so we can pretty much eat anything. Also we do do our laundry by hand in a stone was basin in our backyard. Its needless to say I will be getting all new clothes when I get home. It actually works out pretty well.I honestly dont really mind. Since it is also spring turning to summer we get bugs every now and then. Mostly cocroaches. Big ones. The spiders arent massive though, just as big as the biggest one you have ever seen in Utah, still freaks you out for a second though.

I have met all of our active members, and they are all super nice. It is only a little frustrating because they like giving us new guys a pretty hard time in a loving way, and it is hard because I understand most of what they are saying but I cant really say much back. So I just smile and take it. That is something that is promising though, my understanding has gone through the roof. I am understanding probably 80 percent of conversations. My speaking is definitely getting better but it is still hard to talk about much other than the gospel. It is also hard to always work on spanish with my comp because he is gringo and I know so little spanish and it is so much easier to speak in english. One of our goals is to work on that.

We have a super small town in our area called Barker that we wanted to go contact on saturday. there are only two buses out there all day, so after having very little success there we started walking home. We walked probably three miles then gave up and hitched a ride in the back of a truck. Saved us. It was so hot.

Our number one investigator is an older guy named Carlos. He has an unbelievable amount of faith, he just is scared to make such a big change in his life. Yesterday we visited him because he didnt go to church like he said. He always says that he has too much pain in his legs to walk that far to the chapel. Almost immediately the scripture in D&C 89 came to my head that gives the promise to run and not be weary and walk and not faint. It was an awesome experience to be guided by the spirit than share it in spanish. The spirit really guides us, almost everytime we talk with someone I have things come to my mind that can help them. He liked the promise and then asked us for a blessing. I anointed him in spanish, which was pretty interesting, but all the words got out. It was super cool and my comp gave a very promising blessing.

Our church is so small it allows us to do everything. I have already blessed and passed the sacarament, and yesturday I gave a talk. I worked on it for awhile and felt like I had quite a bit written down and had some really good ideas. I did have really good ideas and tried to talk about it for as long as I could in correctish spanish, but I really spoke for like ten minutes. I just cant wait until I am able to speak well enough so I can get up and just talk about something like I can in English. I know I will get there.

Other than that we are just walking around all day trying to talk to inactives and non members. They are either super nice and talk, or they just turn us down. We have printed off the list of members and we are starting to visit all of them and renew their interest in the church. It will take time, but we will get there.

Love and miss you all!

Much Love, Elder Degn



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

First Week in Uruguay!

This has been the craziest week of my life! I am so glad to hear how well everyone is doing! It feels like I havent heard from anyone in so long, even though the time feels like it has passed so quickly! I will try to cover this story best I can, just brace yourselves.

So, we left the CCM at five AM and headed to the airport, all our luggage was over that airline´s weight limit, but the company that does our flights covered everything. But he had to pay for each bag individually before we could get our tickets, so it took forever and we ran through the airport to board our plane at the final call. Crazy, but it worked out. After a very pleasant 30 min flight we landed in Montevideo, I exchanged my 142 US$ for 2,500 pesos uruguayos. Something like that. All the luggage made it no problem, and our Presidente was waiting for us with the APs and financors. They all gave us a huge hug and welcomed us to Uruguay. It is awesome here. Best place I have ever been. We were taken to the mission home of the Montevideo mission at the temple facility. The President lives there and we had an awesome breakfast and then a full day of orientation. Presidente Smith is awesome. He has his own system of how to run a mission, and it is great. We teach short lessions, make them feel the spirit, then go. Its brilliant and it works. Its different than PME in lession order and stuff, but it is bassically the same idea. Just more condensed. Our mission moto is HOY ES EL DIA. Today is the day. Today is the day we will change this country and change lives. Never yesterday or tomorrow. Today. We also have seven beliefs that I can't really remember right now that sum that up. Its great. We also had interviews with the President. It was great.  So that first afternoon we went proselyting with the APs and other missionaries, and I went with E´ Bossa, an AP from Columbia that speaks both languages perfectly. We went and visited two youth in his area to invite them to a temple activity. He talked basically the whole time and then asked me to bear my testimony about temples. It wasn't very eloquent, but it made sense and I love having a testimony about the temple becasue I could feel it bring the spirit to them. Both times it was the same way, I was able to say enough to really show them how important the temple is in our lives, because of how much it has meant to me in my life. I loved it, and was super surprised at how much spanish I knew.

We slept in the hostel at the temple facility which is really nice and had a great night sleep. In the morning we all went to the doctor to have a blood sample taken and just a check up. I had to convince the doctor there that I had my heart cleared in America, but through our spanglish she wrote me a paper that explains my condition in spanish in case Ineed to go to another doctor here. So I'm all good, no worries. We got back to the temple and they lined us all up and then our trainers walked behind us in a line and sang called to serve then yelled ¡Hoy es el Dia! then we turned around to meet them. My father (trainer) is elder Diotaiuti from West Jordan, Ut. He is awesome and we get along really well. He has been out for only eight months but is pretty darn fluent. We then went to a temple session with our trainer which was awesome. The temple is beautiful and small. But I absolutely love it. After the temple we went to lunch and then headed out. All the buses in the country are run through Montevideo. The station is called tres cruzes. Its like a huge airport for buses. We are in the zone of Colonia. Right on the coast. Its so beautiful. We got to downtown Colonia pretty late on Wednesday so we stayed the night at the missionaries house that have that area. That was culture shock to the max. It was basically a four-roomed hut. It was filthy and had trash everywhere. They only had two lightbulbs, so we had to move them from room to room if we needed light. We were traveling with two other elders that live with us so the four of us slept sideways on two old mattreses. Not much sleep there. But in the morning we went to the chapel there and it is beautiful, the city is super nice. Uruguay in general is super nice down here. And everything is like Colonial aged. (Colonia) But we went to the chapel and had a zone meeting with all the missionaries from Colonia. Elise Jacksons friend is in my zone! He is super cool, I cant remember his name though, its crazy. But after our zone meeting and a really good lunch at a pizza place (not American pizza, but still good) we went to catch a bus out to our area. We are about an hour back from Colonia, in a beautiful, quaint city called Rosario. Its an awesome little old city with some really run down areas on the outskirts. We live at one end of it in a pretty nice two story place. Its probably good we stayed that first night in a dump because now I feel like we are living the high life. Its really just a humble abode. We have this huge 300 year old catholic cathedral in the middle of the city but the plaza, the building is amazing but its a pretty strong catholic influence. Its still really cool. Elder Diotaiuti and I have half of it, and Elder Teloma and Elder Arriola have the other half. Elder Teloma is an Oro from my group too, and Elder Arriola is his trainer. We all live together. Rosario used to be Dio and Arriola´s area but it is too big so it was split and they were both made trainers. So the first two days there we were basically running errands to get stuff for the house, since it was only set up for two people. We bought a lot of furniture and other stuff we needed. Our area is one of the most expensive in the mission, basically the same prices of food and stuff as in America. Just a little less. But we finally got everthing set and got out to see some people. There are about 15 active members in our branch, from about three different families. Our goal is to double the attendace. We can do it, its just going to take some work. We dont have a chapel, just a pretty sweet old building we meet in every week.

So don't worry about me, we are doing pretty good down here. Right now I am sitting in a internet cafe in Nueva Iglesia, the area of our zone leaders. We hang out as a district on p-days, and its so pretty here too. Its just hard seeing a beach when I cant get in. I still love it though. I will send pics of Uruguay next week!

Glad to hear how well everything is going, and I love and miss you all!

All my love,

Elder Degn
ps, send everything to the mission home. They put it in bags and send it to our disricts

Friday, October 4, 2013

Cinco Dias!

¡Cinco Dias!
Thank you guys so much for the letters! I just barely got all the letters that were sent in the first two weeks of September so this morning felt like Christmas! The government holds our mail for awhile and then finally gives some after they get enough. I especially appreciate Matt´s three letters about his fantasy football team. En serio, I can't believe that I am almost out of here! I'm so ready to get out but I know that the change is going to be crazy. This last group of Latinos we got has a lot of people that are going to my mission, so it's cool to talk to them. One of my new best friends is Elder Castellanos from El Salvador. He is my roommate and going to my mission. He speaks a little English and really helps me practice Spanish. Can't wait to be companions with him in a year or so. My companion right now and the majority of my district are going to Paraguay so its going to be super sad to say goodbye to them in a few days. Elder Page and Elder Worsham and I have all promised to stay in touch so we can hang out after the mish.
This week felt so fast, and we are practically done. On Saturday and Sunday we have G.C. (so pumped) Then Monday we have all day orientation then we leave around four in the morning on Tuesday. We are going on a half hour flight to Uruguay and then who knows where from there. We will miss a P-day so this will be my last big email for the next ten days. But the last time we went proselyting was last Saturday because of general conference. We were in a much nicer area, and the people were much more polite, but we still didnt have too much success. We did place one Book of Mormon to a young woman that took if from us still with her cigarette in her hand. She seemed interested and I hope that she reads.
We have really been studying a lot about the finer points of grammar in Spanish and I realized how much harder it is than you normally think about. I always stay positive though and I know that it will really just come with time and practice. It is so awesome to see Hannah out in the real world! I know she will be awesome!  It's hard at times, but being able to stay focused and push through the hard times really make the good times so worth it.
We play a ton of volleyball here and everyone is super impressed because I can do dads between the legs backwards serve like a boss. Everyone loves it. One of my teachers Hno. Fiorimantti was watching us one day and asked if I was a professional volleyball player back in America. I said yes. I eventually told him I wasn't, but it was fun to pretend. I am also getting pretty good at futbol and Elder Simpson and I play with the Latinos a lot. Elder Simpson is way better than me but I am finally able to hold my own. The Latinos love having me for corner kicks because I can jump two feet higher than any of them. Its great.
Cant wait to talk to you all again from URUGUAY! I miss you guys and love you all!!
Love, Elder DegnInline image 1