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

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