Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ciao Cerro!

Well kiddos, I really cannot tell you how glad I am that you all enjoyed Cali this week, and I’m not going to lie, but it makes me really homesick to see you guys there, one year no mas:) Well this week has certainly been a crazy rollercoaster! The down side is that Leo didn’t get baptized, and it has been really tough to see him get so close and then not get there at the last minute. Really tough.

There have also been a lot of problems that have come up in the area, and we are closing the part that we recently opened and had a bunch of success. Elder Martinez is going to be working a lot with the members so we can have lessons in their houses so they can still teach this people. We have two people in their that should get baptized in this next month, but I will only see the pictures because I have been changed! Tomorrow morning I am taking a bus to RIVERA! It is such a bittersweet feeling because I love this place so much and the members and everything, but Rivera is basically the place everyone wants to go. It is where Dio started the mission, and it is on the border of Brasil and they pass over to there on pdays to buy cheap stuff and eat good food. So I’m super pumped for all of that! I am also going to be District leader! That was actually a big surprise, but I’m super excited! My comp is Elder Harbold. I know nothing about him except that he only has five months in the mission. I will also see my brother Elder Davis up there, and I’m soo pumped!!!!

Ahh this is the craziest mix of emotions I have ever felt, and I don’t like it that much, but I will go and I will do. Cerro has been exactly what I needed exactly when I needed it. I have progressed here spiritually more than any other time in my life. Maybe someday I will break open that story book for ya... I love this place so much, and it has really just been a huge blessing to be here and have my gratitude for everything just explode. Something that hit me super hard recently is in Mateo 16, the last six verses I believe. The question that hit me is ¨what will a man give in exchange for his soul?¨ What am I willing to do to be saved? The answer like always is in el Libro de Mormon. Alma 5:10-13. Fueron fieles hasta el fin. Endure til the end. The ONLY WAY. That is what I hope everyone can understand, Eloy, Jesus, Charo, Piriz, Iris, Leo, everyone that I love so much here. I love you guys more than I can describe, thank you for everything! Nos vemos de Cerro, por la ultima vez. Les quiero!!

Elder Degn

The District
 I Love all these people and will miss this area so much!!

 The 2nd Counselor in the Bishopric--He guards and protects us. It helps that he is an ex-marine and has a black belt in Karate.


IRIS!!!!---July 21, 2014

Hey everyone, I’m so glad to hear that you all had a good week, and that Abby had so much fun at girls camp! I really miss those ward outings, awesome memories. I am also quite upset that you are going to Cali again without me, just hit me up with a postcard please:) We have been doing pretty well here, but we have both been really sick this week. It is the weather, its super-hot during the day, so we don’t go out all bundled up, and then when the sun goes down it is freezing cold. Martinez had some crazy body cold for like four days, then he got better and it hit me yesterday. I could barely get myself out of bed to go to church. It was crazy, I just feel like an old man. Today is better, so hopefully I will get out of it soon.
Apart from all of that, the Lord has blessed us SOOO much this week! We had the baptism of Iris on Saturday! Leo quit smoking, and everything was going well, but then last Sunday there was a super big storm and it blew the roof off of their house, and he just got really mad. He was upset and didn’t know why so many bad things were still happening to them. It was honestly really tough, and he didn’t want to get baptized. So we let him cool off a little bit, they both talked to the bishop, and yesterday he decided to get baptized again, so this week we should be having his baptism! It really is amazing how the Lord works, and it really depends on us to see his hand in our lives along with the challenges.

So yeah this week we weren’t able to visit everyone because of the sicknesses and such, but yesterday we had 4 investigators come to church and 4 of the 5 converts of this year come! It was really just a tender mercy for us and the Lord telling us that He is looking out for us.

This is also the last week of the change, I can’t believe it has gone by so fast. I’m a little worried about leaving Martinez here because this past week one of the companionships in our ward got roughed up pretty good in the street and one of the elders of the other companionship got shot in the head with a bb gun. Luckily nothing has happened to us, but I just hope that if I leave that President sends another big guy to help out Martinez.

Well, I love you guys so much, and I hope that you guys have a good week! Say hi to Cali for me...

Con todo mi amor,

Elder Degn

ps. IRIS!!

Alemania no mas!--July 14, 2014

Alemania no mas!! Whew, yeah, the Mundial was super fun and all that, but after another day inside yesterday, I'm ready for everyone to get back to normal. Uruguayans hate Argentinians, so they were all super happy that Alemania won. It was almost as crazy as when we beat Italy, it's like we all just turned into Germans overnight. So yeah, it was a fun ride, but we are looking forward to being able to go into houses and not have to wait until half time to teach a lesson. Not really the best way to invite the spirit. Also, yesterday was the Uruguayan Father´s day, so Pops, Feliz dia!! The other day in June is Grandparents day, so Father’s day got kicked back a little bit. I got a cool keychain from the relief society as a future father, so I was super happy about that. Everyone thinks I’m super old and have kids anyway, so it works.

This week has been a bit of a roller coaster! We had the wedding of Iris and Leo on Wednesday and it was super fun! We all went to Ciudad Vieja for the ceremony and some of their family came and it was just crazy. The ceremony was performed by a woman, and she put on this sash thing of the Uruguayan flag which gives her authority or something like that, read them the laws and importance of marriage, and it honestly felt like a joke because she was cracking jokes with the family the whole time. It was funny, but it is easy to see why many people don’t respect their own weddings. (TEMPLE; TEMPLE; TEMPLE) But it was fun and we were witnesses, so we got to sign this huge book of forms and everything and sit in the big chair and I felt pretty official. They were really happy, and that makes everything worth it. Then on Thursday they had their interview to be baptized and Iris passed with flying colors, but Leo is still struggling with smoking. He has given up so much stuff, but this last little bit is more difficult. So they did not get baptized, but we talked about everything and put the goal for this next week. They both agreed and are going to really work at it for this next week. So we are really hoping that everything comes together for them.

Other than that it was Elder Martinez´s birthday on Tuesday and he turned 22! He is super Viejo. One of the members in our area is a professional cook and cake-maker, and she made him a huge toy-story cake, and it was amazing. We ate cake for quite a few days. We also went to the house of one of the recent converts that we are really helping right now and she made a bunch of food too, so we ate pretty well for a couple of days. It was pretty darn nice. It was fun for Martinez, and we just had a good time.

Also, spiritual though of the day. Attributes of Christ: HUMILITY. There is way too much pride in this world, and it changes within each of us. Don’t be prideful, accept the will of the Lord, and keep on keepin on. Love you guys like crazy! Thank you for everything you do and have fun this week!!

Todo mi amor,

Elder Degn

ps. This is Iris and Leo and two of Iris´s sisters.

What World Cup?--June 30, 2014

Hey y'all, sounds like you are all super busy but all for a good cause! Fa the truth is that I miss camping and stuff like that. There aren,t mountains here so it makes me a little sad. Even though sometimes I feel like I'm camping because at night it feels the same as sleeping in a burrito wrap. But yeah, the country is pretty calmed down now, just upset at Suarez, and Brazil for buying off the FIFA. (Dont know if thats true, but its what everyone says) This week I was pretty sick with headaches and congestion and a sore throat so I finally called the mission nurse and she told me I had an infection of some sort and so she gave me meds and made me stay inside for A WHOLE DAY to give everything a break from the really cold air. Yeah, so we were inside all day for the Uruguay game...but it was still good, we cleaned. A lot. Oh and yeah, I'm a lot better now.
Also, this week was awesome! We saw the Lord´s hand so blatantly it was amazing. We were standing in the entrance of the nieghborhood of Iris waiting for her to come get us and take us to her house when a bunch of women with their kids passed us on the way home from school. We smiled and said hi to all of them, and then one came back and asked us what church we were from. Martinez was in a bit of shock, so I explained and she asked when we can come to her house. So we set something up and went back two days later and she turns out to have eight kids and lots of health problems but has been meeting with the Testigos de Jehova for a year or something because she likes learning about the bible and stuff like that (they dont event use the bible) but said that some of their questions they couldn't answer about life, death, stuff like that. All of which we DO have the answers. So we had a really great first charla with her and I'm super excited to see what this week brings!
Haha that same day when we went to visit Iris and Leo it was hilarious because they went to a party Sunday night and Leo got stone drunk. Which led to him getting heated with the bus driver, which led to him getting punched by the bus driver, which led to him spitting back at the bus driver a bunch of blood and his front teeth. Which then led to him yelling all sorts of stuff like how he can't get married to this witch and then fell asleep outside. Oh my gosh you guys have no idea how hard we were laughing with them it was hilarious!! Iris has made him promise to quit drinking now, and without knowing any of this, our plan was to teach them the Word of Wisdom. So hey, pretty good timing eh? They are going on super well and this week they are going to the temple again with the ward, and are bringing a couple friends from the nieghborhood.

We also had a fun class in church yesterday in which Martinez taught the ley de castidad with five Uruguayan mothers present. Yeah, it was a pretty interesting conversation for a 21 year old mexican about standards, morals, why this, why that, they best way for this, yeah it was a show. I just enjoyed watching. Gotta love it!
Well kiddos we are going to temple again this weekend so we are really pumped for that, and really, I love you all so much! Thank you for everything!

Elder Degn

ps, What World Cup?

Thursday, July 10, 2014


So anyway that Family reunion looked like a absolute blast and I am actually pretty jealous. We´ll have to do it again in a couple of years. Im also glad to see how fun it is to go to a nice clean beach when it is really hot and all that fun jazz. Because this past week has been the coldest yet, it was a little bit odd to celebrate the fourth of july in the middle of winter, but it still got pretty patriotic in la casa. Also recently thanks to Elder Patterson (KJ) and our constant exchange of That thing you do quotes, I have seen a connection between this epic classic and the missionary life. Por ejemplo:

When you comp leaves the lights on downstairs and you are all in bed, ¨Let her burn, let her burn, let her burn all night. Bring me down here in the dog-gone middle of the night to turn off the lights, cant he get anything right?!¨

Or when a missionary gets called to DL, ¨You mean you´re going to start paying me?? I didnt say that!¨

Or when you see someone that looks like a golden investigator, ¨hey go talk to them, you can eat a burger anyday!¨

Hahaha yeah, its been cracking me up lately, I´ll let you know when I realize some more:) #Oneders

Fa, but we had another awesome week! Iris and Leo have been doing very well, they both found jobs the week after they started investigating the church, and so they are very gratefully busy. They have been blessed so much for their efforts, its amazing. We are going with them Wednesday back to downtown Deo for the wedding! Martinez and I are both preparing ourselves mentally so that it isnt too much of a blow for us to see the happiness of everyone getting married and just enjoy the moment. Then on Saturday is the baptism! We are so pumped for them and it has been amazing to see them come so far in such a short time. I cant believe how quickly we have come to this point, and at church yesturday they were both just very excited for everything.

What has absolutely blown my mind is how much the area has changed just because of the nieghborhood that used to be closed. It has exploded and we have started to teach five or six people and they are all geniunely interested and recieving the lessons very well. We have gone in with a couple of members that are really helping us out, and they have really connected with these people and it has just been really a testimony-builder to me to see the importance of the members because they have similar life styles and experiences, but really testify with power. Its really is amazing.

I also went on divisions this week with one of our ZLs Elder Caires Franca from Brazil. It was pretty fun talking with him because Portugues is his first language, and he had to learn spanish in the mission, so its is kinda a goofy sounding spanish, but he works like a boss. I really learned a lot from him about how to teach better, which is really something that I have been working on a lot lately, and it is great to see the difference.

We also went to the temple with the ward on Saturday, and there is really no where else in the world like the temple. We worked in the baptistry for a couple of hours, and I was able to perform comfirmations, and it was really an amazing experience. I love the temple so much. No joke.

Well folks, I love you guys like crazy, and love to hear that you are all doing well!! (Even though Matt and Josh think they look big, its just because they are wearing my swim trunks. Enjoy it while you can boys, this guy aint any smaller)

Con todo mi amor,

Elder Degn